KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Leading by one in the eighth inning, the Kansas City Royals got an insurance run and then kept adding on.
Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer in Kansas City’s eight-run inning and rookie right-hander Nate Adcock picked up his first major league victory as the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 11-2 Saturday night.
The Royals sent 12 men to the plate in the eighth and scored all eight runs after two outs. Six runs were unearned after an error by Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.
“The flood gates opened up for us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “When we got a two-run lead, I felt really good knowing we had (closer Joakim) Soria down there. But it just kept piling on, piling on.”
Soria warmed up early in the inning but sat down when Gordon homered to make it 10-2.
“Gordo’s been great all year long,” Yost said.
The inning also included Chris Getz’s run-scoring infield single, Mike Aviles’ bases-loaded walk and Jeff Francoeur’s RBI double. Morneau’s fielding miscue permitted two runs to score.
The eight-run inning was the Royals’ largest since June 14, 2007, when they scored eight in the second inning against St. Louis.
“You’d rather go into the ninth inning more than a one-run lead, that’s for sure,” Getz said.
Adcock (1-0), a Rule 5 pick from the Pittsburgh Pirates who had never pitched above Class A ball before this season, worked a scoreless seventh to claim the victory.
“It’s very exciting,” Adcock said. “I got a lot of high fives. It’s a good feeling.”
Left-hander Brian Duensing (2-1) took the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, and eight hits in seven innings, while striking out six and walking two. The Twins have lost five straight.
Getz led off the seventh with a line drive to left that Rene Tosconi attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball got past him and rolled to the fence. Getz wound up at third, only his third extra-base hit of the season. He scored on Aviles’ sacrifice fly to put the Royals ahead 3-2.
“When I hit it, I was hoping it would drop and was thinking single,” Getz said. “When it got past him, I was off to the races.”
The Twins, who have scored an American League-low 82 runs, failed to take advantage of seven walks issued by Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan, who had not pitched since April 21. Jason Kubel had two of Minnesota’s three hits.
“A little bit of it was definitely rust and I spent most of last night bent over the toilet — I think it was a little food virus — so I was a little jelly leg out there,” O’Sullivan said. “I felt like I made some pitches when I had to. I didn’t want to give into guys when I got behind. That was the definition of being effectively wild.”
The Twins did not get the ball out of the infield in the first inning, but scored two runs with the help of throwing errors by catcher Matt Treanor and third baseman Aviles. Matt Tolbert had a bunt single, the only hit of the inning, and there were two walks.
Denard Span, who led off the game with a walk, scored when Morneau grounded into a double play. Tolbert came home on Aviles’ throwing error.
O’Sullivan held the Twins to two hits and two runs in seven innings, but threw only 55 strikes in 104 pitches and did not have a 1-2-3 inning.
Manager Ron Gardenhire held a closed-door team meeting after the Twins dropped to a major league-worst 9-17.
“We need to get it figured out,” Gardenhire said. “This was not the way we planned to start the season. I told the guys ‘we’re starting 0-0 tomorrow. We’ll get busy playing the way we know how.’ It’s disappointment and frustration, too. Tonight kind of topped it off. We don’t like to lose around here. We’re not used to it and our fans don’t deserve it.
The Royals scored an unearned run in the third when Treanor and Aviles had singles. Treanor scored on Michael Cuddyer’s throwing error on Melky Cabrera’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Billy Butler led off the Royals fourth with his third home run to tie the score at 2.
NOTES — DH Jim Thome returned to the Twins lineup after missing four games with a mild left oblique strain. ... Royals RHP Robinson Tejeda threw 26 pitches in batting practice. He went on the disabled list April 14 with right shoulder inflammation. “He had a little more life on his fastball,” Yost said. “He got it up to 93(mph), which is better than it was, with the majority at 92. The command was off, which is natural having a bit of a layoff, facing hitters. It was a good step. We’ll do it again. He’s getting better. We’ll see how he recovers tomorrow and that will give us a better idea.” ... The Twins won nine games in April. The last time they failed to get at least 10 victories in a month was April 2006, when they went 9-15. Their 17 losses is a franchise high for April.