Recap: Hosmer homers, Shields shines as Royals beat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Kansas City
Royals have won the last six games started by James Shields, though it’s
hard to tell by looking at his record.

“I think my two-month anniversary was
coming up of not getting a win,” Shields said Friday night after
throwing six solid innings in the Royals’ 9-3 victory over the Minnesota

Shields (3-6) earned his 90th career win, though it was his first in 11 starts.

Shields’ previous victory came April
30 in an 8-2 win over Tampa Bay. Since then, the Royals have failed to
give Shields much run support. But it was a different story on Friday.
Kansas City had a season-high four homers, two from Eric Hosmer, and one
apiece from Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas.

Butler started things off with a three-run shot in the first.

“I can’t remember the last time Shields has had a lead, I mean seriously, I can’t remember,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

In fact, Friday marked the first time since that April 30 win that Shields had a lead of more than one run.

“Is that opening day?” Hosmer joked.
“This is what our offense is capable of doing, and we feel confident
that we can put up a lot of runs and then put up days like this.”

Clete Thomas homered for the Twins,
who got another rough start from P.J. Walters (2-4). Walters allowed six
runs in three innings, one start after giving up six in the first at
Cleveland last Saturday.

The Royals entered the game with the
fewest home runs in the majors (43) – two behind Miami – and had given
Shields some of the worst run support in the league. But the veteran
right-hander had a three-run lead by the time he took the mound for the
first time Friday, thanks to Butler.

“I think after that first swing, it
really opened us up as an offense and we just kept getting the big hit
or the big swing with guys in scoring position,” Hosmer said. “Hopefully
we can put up more offensive outings like that for Shields.”

Shields never allowed Minnesota to
get close the rest of the way. Walters, on the other hand, never found a
rhythm. Down 4-0 in the third, he allowed a two-run homer to Moustakas
and drew a chorus of boos from the home crowd.

“Walters just couldn’t make any
pitches and couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to,” Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. “Just a bad night for him.”

Walters has allowed 12 runs in his last 3 2-3 innings.

“We all have games where we
struggle,” Walters said. “Everybody in the league has them. I’ve just
put two of them in a row together. In my eyes it’s unacceptable. To the
team I’m sure it is, too.”

Anthony Swarzak took over for Walters
in the fourth and gave up a solo shot to Hosmer in the fifth. Hosmer
got Swarzak again in the seventh, this time with Alcides Escobar on
base, for the second multihomer game of his career.

The offensive outburst was a welcome
change for Shields, who had been stuck on 89 wins for his previous 10
starts despite putting up quality numbers. He entered Friday night’s
game with the eighth-best ERA in the AL (2.92), third in innings (111)
and eighth in strikeouts (99). But his run support of 3.00 per nine
innings pitched was second-lowest in the league.

“This team’s been grinding all season
long,” Shields said. “We won the last six of my games, and I have no
doubt in my mind that we’re just going to keep going up from here.”

The Twins broke through against
Shields in the fourth when Justin Morneau hit an RBI double. Morneau
came around to score three batters later on a double by Brian Dozier.
Thomas led off the fifth with a homer to right.

Shields worked 6 1-3 innings before being pulled for Tim Collins.

NOTES: Rain delayed the first pitch
by 26 minutes. … Hosmer’s last multihomer game came on Aug. 31, 2011,
at Detroit. … Ryan Doumit returned to Minnesota’s lineup after missing
a couple games with a sore ankle. .. Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey (back) is
expected to begin a rehab assignment next week with Class-A Cedar
Rapids. … Yost said RHP Felipe Paulino has developed soreness in his
throwing shoulder and will not pitch on Sunday as part of his rehab
assignment at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. … The Royals and Twins play
the third of their four-game series on Saturday when Wade Davis takes
his 4-5 record to the mound against Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson, who makes
his major league debut.