KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham each hit two-run homers, Trevor Plouffe also went deep and the Minnesota Twins held off the Kansas City Royals 10-7 on Monday night.
Cole De Vries (1-1) lasted five shaky innings to pick up his first major league victory in his third career start. He got plenty of help from Jamey Carroll, who reached base four times with two RBIs, and Ben Revere, who also drove in a pair of runs.
The game was tied 4-all in the fifth when Morneau belted his homer off Will Smith (1-2), also making his third big league start. Ryan Doumit grounded out before Plouffe’s homer, which gave Minnesota a three-run cushion and chased Smith.
The Twins survived two runs in the ninth by Kansas City to wrap up their sixth win in seven games. Matt Capps got Johnny Giavotella to ground out with the tying run on deck to finish it.
Mike Moustakas homered and had a pair of doubles with two RBIs, and Eric Hosmer also drove in two runs for the Royals, providing them with at least a few bright spots.
The error by shortstop by Alcides Escobar in the first inning certainly wasn’t one of them. Nor was the stretch of three walks issued by Royals pitchers in the sixth inning.
Of course, the Twins were having plenty of problems of their own.
They led 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Moustakas followed a pair of singles to start the inning with an RBI double. Jeff Francoeur proceeded to slap a grounder to Minnesota shortstop Brian Dozier, who let the ball go right through the wickets for a run.
Hosmer was next to bat and hit a grounder at second baseman Alexi Casilla, who stumbled all over himself for another error. The Royals wound up tying the game on the play.
It was a short-lived rally, though.
Smith retired Revere to start the fifth, but he walked Willingham before serving up a fat pitch to Morneau, who sent it sailing over the right-field wall. Plouffe’s homer traveled nearly as far to left field and restored Minnesota’s three-run advantage.
Smith was charged with seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2-3 innings, a somewhat sobering performance after he allowed two runs over six frames his last time out.
De Vries wasn’t a whole lot better, but he was good enough.
The former undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota actually pitched better his last time out, when he allowed two hits over five shutout innings against Oakland.
Unlike that outing, he got the win against the Royals.
The young right-hander allowed five runs — four of them earned — in five innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Jeff Gray allowed a pair of runs in the ninth to break a string of more than 19 scoreless innings by Minnesota relievers, but Capps came on to finish it off.