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Moustakas helps Royals to fourth straight win

POSTED September 14, 2011 8:31 p.m.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Luke Hochevar had the flu. Still, the Kansas City Royals right-hander was healthy enough to curb a sickly Minnesota Twins offense.
Hochevar pitched six solid innings and Mike Moustakas had three hits and drove in two runs as the Royals defeated the Twins 7-3 Wednesday.
The Royals have won four straight, matching the longest winning streak of the season, while the Twins have lost 19 of 23 and are in last place in the AL Central after winning the division the past two years. The Twins scored 10 runs and committed seven errors in losing all five on this trip to Kansas City and Detroit.
“Hoch got the flu (Tuesday) and has been battling a low-grade fever,” Royals manager Ned Yost. “After six innings, his tank was on empty. He was done.”
Hochevar (11-11) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings. Hochevar improved to 6-3 in 12 starts since the All-Star break.
“Something kind of came on after we got back from Seattle.” Hochevar said. “I didn’t have the energy I normally have. My body felt dead and tired. It’s part of it. What it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter how you feel, its how you execute. I just went out and tried to execute good pitches.
“They were real aggressive. They were swinging at first and second pitches. I let them put the ball in play and let our defense work.”
Moustakas drove in runs in the second and fourth inning with singles. He doubled and scored in the two-run sixth inning.
“Moose has gotten on track really nice,” Yost said. “His swings are much better. He’s really driving the ball nice. The double he hit off the wall would have been a home run (Tuesday). The wind was really howling in. I didn’t think you could smoke a ball to the wall today in center field and he did.”
Moustakas has 19 multi-hit games and his three hits ties a career high.
“I was just happy I put solid contact on that and (Ben) Revere didn’t make one of his circus catches out there,” Moustakas said of his double. “My first two at-bats, I had runners on first and second, which makes my job a whole lot easier.”
Jeff Francoeur also had three hits and scored two runs. Eric Hosmer, Francoeur and Moustakas - the Royals’ fourth, five and sixth hitters - went a combined 8-for-12 and scored five runs.
Salvador Perez drove in a pair of runs with a fourth inning double and a sixth inning single.
Johnny Giavotella had two RBIs without a hit. His sacrifice fly in the second scored Francoeur. In the three-run fourth, Giavotella reached on a Trevor Plouffe throwing error, allowing Francoeur to score.
Greg Holland, one of six rookies used by the Royals, got the final two outs to log his third save in five opportunities. Yost said closer Joakim Soria has a hamstring injury and was not available.
“It’s not serious, but we don’t want to push it this late in the season,” Yost said.
Liam Hendricks, who was making his second big league, was roughed up for five runs on eight hits in five innings. Hendricks (0-2) was 12-6 with a 3.36 ERA in the minors before his Sept. 6 promotion.
“They’re a fastball hitting team and I missed with my fastballs,” Hendricks said. “I need to make better pitches with my fastball. I threw some good pitches they hit and I threw some bad pitches they hit harder. I’ve got to make sure I can throw my fastball with better location.”
Danny Valencia, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer had the Twins RBIs. Cuddyer had two hits, including a triple, and walked with the bases loaded in the seventh. Three Kansas City relievers combined to walk six in three innings.
The Twins scored 10 runs and committed nine errors in losing all five on this trip to Kansas City and Detroit.

NOTES — The Royal started six first-round draft picks — Hochevar, Hosmer, Moustakas, Francoeur, LF Alex Gordon and DH Billy Butler — and Giavotella, a second-round selection. All but Francoeur, who was a 2002 first-round choice of the Braves, were drafted by the Royals. ... Joe Mauer was behind the plate for the Twins for only the second time since Aug. 20. Cuddyer and Plouffe snapped 0-for-20 skids. ...Twins CF Ben Revere stole three bases, bringing his season total to 30. ... Royals LHP Jeff Francis will make his final start of the season Thursday against the Chicago White Sox to open a four-game series. Francis has allowed 31 of his 100 runs in the first inning, when opponents are batting .358 off him. ... The Twins are off Thursday before opening a homestand Friday against Cleveland with Kevin Slowey, who is 0-5, starting.


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