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

Twins.

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.