Heading into tonight’s game, the Royals appeared to have an advantage on the mound, as James Shields was facing off against the Minnesota Twins’ Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco had been hammered for the most part this season, and while Shields had been shaky, one would have expected that he would right the ship. Instead, it was Nolasco who broke out of his slump, as the Twins defeated the Royals 10-2.
Minnesota struck first against Shields in the bottom of first inning. Eduardo Nunez, who had never led off at the major league level before tonight, reached on an infield hit. After an out, Chris Parmelee hammered a double to deep center, putting the Twins on the board.
The Royals came back in the top of the second, but also missed an opportunity. With one out, Raul Ibanez singled in his first Royals at bat since 2003. Omar Infante followed with a base hit to shallow right, and Ibanez tried to take third. The throw from Oswaldo Arcia was on line, catching Ibanez at third for the second out. Infante moved up to second, which proved vital as Mike Moustakas followed with a base hit to tie the game at 1-1.
Defensive miscues led to another run in the third. With two outs and a runner on first, Parmelee lifted a fly ball to shallow left field that appeared as though it would be the third out. Instead, Moustakas ended up getting in Alex Gordon‘s way, making room at the last second as the ball hit off Gordon’s glove for a two base error. Kendrys Morales followed with an infield single to deep in the hole at short, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.
The Twins took over from that point. Minnesota loaded the bases in the fourth, getting a run on a sixty foot grounder down the first base line when neither Shields nor Infante went to cover first. Joe Mauer followed with a two run double to left center, giving the Twins a 5-1 lead. Mauer hurt himself on the play, and ended up leaving the game with what was called a right oblique strain, which will likely result in his missing tomorrow’s contest.
After James Shields departed following the fifth, Michael Mariot came in to try to keep the Royals close. Instead, he turned out to be the proverbial can of petrol on the fire. Nunez greeted Mariot by belting his third pitch for a home run to left. After consecutive one out singles, Trevor Plouffe hit a grounder to second that Infante was unable to handle, leading to another run. A walk loaded the bases before Mariot walked Kurt Suzuki to force in a run, ending Mariot’s night and bringing in Francisley Bueno. Sam Fuld hit a two run single off Bueno, giving the Twins a commanding 10-1 lead.
The Royals got a run back in the top of the second, as Danny Valencia drove in Jarrod Dyson with a double to center, but the damage was already done as the Twins defeated the Royals 10-2. James Shields took the loss, giving up five runs, four earned, on nine hits and two walks, striking out five in his five innings of work. Mariot was hammered by the Twins, giving up five runs, with two earned, on three hits and two walks while recording a single out.
On the positive side, Eric Hosmer was 4-4 with four singles. Christian Colon made his major league debut in the bottom of the seventh and was 0-1, grounding out to third in his first at bat for the Royals.