Torii Hunter had three hits and Joe Mauer drove in three runs to lead the Minnesota Twins over the Kansas City Royals, 8-5, in the rubber match of a three-game set at Target Field on Thursday.
Kennys Vargas and Kurt Suzuki added two hits, including a two-run homer, each for the Twins, who exploded for a season high in runs. Danny Santana and Shane Robinson also had two hits apiece for Minnesota, which has won two straight to improve to 3-6 this season.
Tommy Milone (2-0) started for the Twins and got the win, tossing just 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander was charged with three runs on seven hits, striking out three and walking three.
Lorenzo Cain continued his torrid start to the season for the Royals, who after winning seven straight to start the season have now lost consecutive games. Cain ended a triple shy of the cycle (3-for-4) with three RBI and three runs scored. He has had at least one hit in all nine games this year and is hitting .429 with two homers and 11 RBI.
Cain started the scoring with his first-inning, two-run homer, but the Twins quickly tied the game in the second when Kennys Vargas connected on a two-run shot of his own off Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Kansas City went ahead again in the third when Salvador Perez doubled home Cain, but that was the last lead for the Royals.
Minnesota went ahead for good in the home half of the inning. First, Mauer’s ground out plated Santana with the tying run. Then, Hunter scored when Trevor Plouffe reached on a throwing error by Mike Moustakas.
The Twins added another run in the fourth on Mauer’s RBI single and Suzuki’s two-run homer off reliever Chris Young in the eighth made it a 7-3 contest. Mauer later added an RBI sac fly to round out the Twins’ scoring.
The Royals got a pair of runs back in the ninth when Cain doubled home a run and scored Eric Hosmer’s base hit. However, Glen Perkins came on for Brian Duensing to close the door without any more damage to pick up his second save.
Jason Vargas (1-1) couldn’t make it through the fourth inning in suffering his first loss of the season. Vargas was charged with five runs — four earned — on 10 hits, striking out one and walking one, in three-plus innings.
The runs allowed by Young, who allowed just one hit over three innings of relief prior to the eighth, were the first runs charged to the Kansas City bullpen this season.