Timely hitting propels Yordano Ventura and the Royals past the Twins 6-3

07/31/2014 10:14 PM

08/01/2014 10:03 AM

Whether the Royals’ inactivity at the trade deadline was a vote of confidence for the current roster or a lack of other options, the team the front office stayed with patched it together once again.

These Royals, whose offensive struggles have been well-documented, capitalized on a four-run seventh inning to overcome a leadoff home run and a pair of costly errors. They defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-3 on Thursday night to win their third consecutive series and improve to 55-52 in front of 24,127 fans at Kauffman Stadium.

“The bottom line is that you try to win each series and we came away with a 5-2 homestand,” Billy Butler said. “We did what we were supposed to do.”

With the victory, the Royals evened the season series with Minnesota at 6-6 and were able to gain a game on Detroit, which leads the American League Central.

The victory came at a cost though, as the Royals lost first baseman Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning when he reaggravated his hand injury and will miss three to six weeks.

Right-hander Yordano Ventura worked through a rocky start that included a leadoff home run to Danny Santana and kept the Royals in the game until a seventh inning surge.

Ventura battled back to carry the Royals to the eighth inning, allowing two runs — one earned — on five hits and recorded seven strikeouts for the second consecutive game since he had zero in his loss to Boston. It was his sixth start with at least seven strikeouts.

“It took him a couple innings to get his curveball going, but once he got it going he was really effective with it,” Yost said.

The third inning brought more trouble, but this time it was mostly out of Ventura’s hands.

Eduardo Escobar led off the inning with a single and ended up advancing to third, and eventually home, on a pair of errors by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas made up for it in the bottom of the fifth inning when he followed up Raul Ibanez’s double with one of his own to knock in the Royals’ first run. He tied the score when he crossed home plate on an error by Escobar, the Twins’ second baseman, during Jarrod Dyson’s at-bat.

Kevin Correia, who entered the game winless in 10 starts against the Royals, added one more scoreless inning before exiting after allowing five hits and one earned run while striking out four.

Then the Royals got their hooks into the Twins’ bullpen, dinging Caleb Thielbar and Ryan Pressley for four runs to take the lead.

Lorenzo Cain hit a leadoff single and Moustakas walked, which forced Thielbar’s exit. Alcides Escobar pushed them across with a two-run triple off Pressley. Dyson knocked him in with a single to center and later scored on an error.

“I was looking for a fastball in that situation and they threw me a fastball in,” Escobar said. “I hit the ball good.”

Aaron Crow took over for the eighth, but his appearance was brief after giving up a leadoff double to Oswaldo Arcia and a walk to Chris Parmalee. Kurt Suzuki then entered the game to pinch-hit for Eric Fryer and the Royals countered with Wade Davis, who had a streak of 43 appearances without an extra-base hit broken with an RBI double that scored Arcia. Davis bounced back to end the threat by striking out Nunez one batter later.

All-Star closer Greg Holland came in to defend the Royals’ 6-3 lead and did so with a fly-out, a strikeout and a line-out for his 29th save in 31 tries.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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