MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Paulo Orlando a double shy of the cycle, Kansas City manager Ned Yost said the Royals were hoping their best hitter could get one more at-bat in the ninth inning against Minnesota.
Orlando got his chance, but settled for a single.
The Royals were plenty satisfied, though, as Orlando hit a three-run homer, triple and scored three times three runs scored on Sunday in an 11-4 win over the Twins.
“We were pushing for that at-bat so that he could get that opportunity. Just another lousy single,” Yost kidded.
What a difference a couple of weeks and a lineup change can make.
Orlando and Lorenzo Cain each matched career highs with four hits and drove in three runs as the Royals won their first road series since late June.
Edinson Volquez (9-10) threw six solid innings to snap his five-game winless streak. He gave up two earned runs and five hits in his first win since July 9, and his first road win since May 24.
Two weeks ago, the Royals closed July with their 10th loss in 12 games. Since then, they’ve won eight of 13; their starting pitchers earned five of them.
“I think everybody’s pitching good right now and that’s what we need,” Volquez said.
Orlando, promoted to the leadoff spot last week, has been the other factor. He’s hitting .368 (39 for 106) since the All-Star break and homered off starter Hector Santiago (10-7) in the fourth, capping a six-run inning.
“It’s just amazing his consistency,” Yost said. “I mean it just seems like he gets two or three hits every night.”
“If at the end of spring training you’d have told me in the middle of August Paulo Orlando would be up here doing what he’s doing, I’d have a hard time believing it,” Yost said. “But after seeing it all summer long, it’s just been phenomenal the year he’s put together.”
Chris Young pitched three scoreless innings for his first save.
Brian Dozier hit his 26th home run for Minnesota and Joe Mauer had a pair of hits, including an RBI single in the fifth that pulled the Twins to 7-4.
Kansas City took advantage of three errors in the sixth, two by third baseman Jorge Polanco, to pull away. Minnesota finished its seven-game homestand 2-5.
“We had a lot of misplays around the field today, so you don’t want to point any fingers,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Not a good game, not a good homestand.”
Polanco’s second misplay loaded the bases for Cain, who singled off reliever Michael Tonkin to drive in a pair of runs. Two batters later, left fielder Robbie Grossman failed to come up with Kendrys Morales’ flyball, resulting in two more runs.
“We did a good job of swinging the bat today, that was huge,” Cain said. “Of course they made a lot of errors as well, but at the same time guys stepped up in clutch situations and we definitely needed it.”
Santiago remained winless with Minnesota since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in a four-player trade on Aug. 1. He’s allowed 15 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings in his first three starts for Minnesota.
The 11 runs were the Royals’ most in support of Volquez this year. Entering the game, the Royals had backed Volquez with two or fewer runs in 13 of his last 19 starts — including zero runs in six of those starts. “Like I always said, we’ve got a pretty good team. We can score many runs, so it’s not a surprise for me,” he said.
Twins: OF Miguel Sano was scheduled for an MRI Monday for his sore right elbow. Molitor and Sano called the move precautionary, although it’s the same elbow that required Tommy John surgery and caused the Twins slugger to miss the 2014 season. Sano tweaked the elbow during warmups last weekend in Tampa Bay and the pain hasn’t gone away. “It bothers me in the sense of the pain, but I’m not worried about anything being severe,” Sano said through a translator, adding that it doesn’t bother him while swinging.
Royals: Open a three-game series in Detroit on Monday when Ian Kennedy (6-9) tries for his first-career win against the Tigers. He’s 0-3 lifetime against Detroit with a 4.34 ERA and is 3-6 on the road this season.
Twins: Off Monday before Ervin Santana (5-9) takes the mound to start a two-game interleague set in Atlanta. Santana has won two straight. He threw a complete game against the Braves on July 26, but the Twins still lost 2-0.