A five run fifth inning and four run eighth gave the Royals enough runs to put the Twins away 10-5 on Wednesday night.
And even though the Royals are hosting Singles Night at Kauffman Stadium on September 20, they ended up previewing it tonight in Minnesota as 13 of their 14 hits were mere singles. But singles add up and the Twins outfielder Ryan Doumit helped with three errors in the fourth inning as well.
Luke Hochevar barely finished five innings to get the win. After the Royals put up five runs after a walk and six straight singles (followed by two pop outs and another single), Hochevar got two quick outs, then walked Justin Morneau and Doumit doubled to left through a shift and a Jamey Carroll single scored both runners. Hochevar got a visit from Dave Eiland and induced a ground out from Alexi Casilla to get out of it. The bullpen held the Twins scoreless from there.
Last night, every batter in the lineup but one got a hit. Tonight, they all did. Billy Butler had three singles, including a deep drive that hit three quarters up the left field wall with the bases loaded (he admired his shot and only made it to first) and drove in three on the night. Salvador Perez had the lone extra base hit, a homer that extended his hitting streak to 16 games, a team high and tied for the league high for catchers.
Perhaps the most impressive at bat, though, belonged to Alcides Escobar, who got down 0-2 in the eighth inning against Casey Fien, then worked it to 2-2. From there, he fouled off another five pitches while working the count full. On the 12th pitch of the at bat, he looped a soft line drive into left field. Eric Hosmer stopped at third but Doumit fumbled the ball, then threw wildly to home and let Johnny Giavotella and Escobar advance in the process while Hosmer scored the first run of the inning.
Then the Royals scored Giavotella on a grounder to Casilla that he didn’t field cleanly, then Butler and Perez singled to add two more runs and extend the lead.
For the night, the Royals hit 8-16 with runners in scoring position. That’s usually going to lead to good things.
The win gives the Royals a 28-27 record against the AL Central this year, which only makes the awful July and April’s 12 game losing streak all the more painful.
Tomorrow night, Luis Mendoza takes on Liam Hendriks. Mendoza gave up two runs on seven hits in his last start against the Twins on September 2. The last time the Royals saw Hendriks, they chased him after 3.2 innings and scored three runs off of him on ten hits – unfortunately, Hochevar had started that night and gave up eight runs in 1.2 innings and the Royals lost anyway.