MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kennys Vargas and Kurt Suzuki each hit a two-run homer, powering the Minnesota Twins past the Kansas City Royals 8-5 Thursday for their first series win this season.
Tommy Milone (2-0) picked up his second straight victory for the Twins, recovering from a rough start to log 5 1-3 innings.
Lorenzo Cain put the Royals in front with his two-run shot in the first inning, but starter Jason Vargas (1-1) was shelled. He gave up 10 hits and a walk, failing to get an out in the fourth and leaving with a 5-3 deficit.
Minnesota’s Vargas sure had his Kansas City foe, no relation, figured out. The burly switch-hitter drove a 1-1 fastball in the second off the ribbon scoreboard that serves as the facade of the second deck above left field to tie the game.
Then in the third inning, two batters after a groundout gave Joe Mauer the first of his three RBIs, Vargas crushed a full-count changeup to the left-center gap that Cain grabbed with a smooth lunging catch to limit the damage.
Kennys Vargas had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth after Jason Frasor relieved for the Royals, but he tapped one back to the mound for an inning-ending double play.
Five Twins had two or more hits, including Torii Hunter who went 3 for 5. The Twins even spoiled the perfect run by the Royals bullpen, after 23 1-3 scoreless innings to start the season. Minnesota hit three homers in the past two days after going deep only twice over the first seven games, the fewest in the American League.
Cain went 3 for 4 with three runs and three RBIs and Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez each had two hits for the Royals, but Milone was able to minimize their threats. He allowed seven hits and three walks and turned a 5-3 lead over to five relievers.
Brian Duensing gave up two runs in a rocky start to the ninth, but Glen Perkins got the last two outs for his second save.
Cain has two homers this year, after going deep only 17 times in 358 major league games entering the season. With his speed, brilliant defense and batting average that’s up to .429, the MVP of the American League championship series has fast become one of Kansas City’s most indispensable players.
Royals: Christian Colon gave Omar Infante his first break at second base, but Perez remained in the lineup at catcher for the ninth straight time despite the afternoon start following the night game. Manager Ned Yost said he wanted Perez’s hitting potential on a day with Alex Gordon resting and Alex Rios out indefinitely. Yost said Perez could get a day off this weekend.
Twins: Casey Fien has showed no lingering effects of the shoulder stiffness that limited him to one inning over the first seven games. After pitching a perfect eighth Wednesday, the right-hander was sharp again with a four-up, four-down performance with a tidy 13 pitches.
The Royals will return home for a three-game series against Oakland starting Friday. Left-hander Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to pitch for the Royals, after winning his season debut while completing seven innings on the road against the Los Angeles Angels. Right-hander Sonny Gray will start for the Athletics.
The Twins will host Cleveland for a three-game series beginning Friday, when AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber pitches for the Indians and Mike Pelfrey takes the mound for the Twins. Pelfrey’s last start at Target Field was nearly a year ago, on May 1.
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