Twins 7, Royals 2
Win or lose, injuries keep piling up for the Minnesota
Starter Nick Blackburn left after five inning with tightness in
his back and Alexi Casilla matched a career high with four hits and
drove in two runs, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 7-2 victory
over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Blackburn was the latest addition to an overcrowded Twins
”They’re probably tired of seeing people,” Blackburn said.
”They’re shutting the doors pretty soon. I don’t think they are
too concerned about my back and I’m not either. I think it was more
of precautionary type move. I don’t think it’s going to be anything
serious. I think it’s going to be a little stiff tomorrow. We won’t
really know a whole lot until I do wake up.”
Blackburn said he hurt it while leaping for Alcides Escobar’s
comebacker to end the fourth.
”I just reached up quick, a little jump and it’s almost like
how you hyperextend your back,” Blackburn said. ”I don’t think
it’s going to be anything serious. I went out there and threw the
fifth. It didn’t feel great. I wasn’t real comfortable, but
obviously it’s not something very severe if you’re able to go out
there and pitch.”
Blackburn gave up two runs on seven hits, throwing 80 pitches.
Blackburn is 4-0 in his past seven starts after finishing April
with four straight losses. Five Twins relievers held the Royals to
one single after Blackburn departed.
”It’s a strained muscle,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
”He went back in the fifth inning and definitely felt it on
fastballs. We think he’ll be OK.”
Justin Morneau and Denard Span were both held out of the lineup.
Morneau had a sore left wrist and Span was a late scratch with a
The Twins have eight players on the disabled list, but it
appears likely left-hander Francisco Liriano will be activated
Tuesday and start at Cleveland. Liriano, who has been out with
shoulder inflammation, threw a bullpen session Saturday at Kansas
Catcher Joe Mauer, who has played only nine games this season
and is on the 60-day disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, is
rehabbing with Class-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League and
was scheduled to be the designated hitter Saturday night.
Casilla hit RBI singles in the third and seventh innings to help
the Twins to their third straight win, equaling a season high.
Casilla’s other four-hit game was Sept. 3, 2007 against the
”A super night for Alexi,” Gardenhire said. ”Alexi is
starting to play like we hoped he would at the start of the season.
We’ve seen him play like for long periods of time and one year he
was like that the whole year. He just has his moments, but right
now he’s as focused as I’ve seen him.”
The Twins scored five runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Delmon Young and Danny Valencia got the RBIs in the sixth.
The Twins batted around in the seventh – opening the inning with
five straight hits to chase Royals starter Luke Hochevar, who gave
up hits to eight of the last 11 batters he faced. Ben Revere,
Michael Cuddyer and Casilla had run-producing singles. Revere
extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games.
”Casilla killed us,” Jeff Francoeur said. ”He was a pain in
The Twins’ 13 hits included two doubles by Matt Tolbert. Casilla
drove him home each time. Cuddyer homered to lead off the ninth,
his 19th career homer against Kansas City which is his most against
Hochevar, the first player picked in the 2006 draft, gave up six
runs and 11 hits in six-plus innings. Hochevar (3-6), who has
allowed 18 runs in 18 innings in his past three starts, is 0-3 in
six starts since a May 1 victory.
The Royals scored both of their runs in the third. Alcides
Escobar snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a one-out single. Alex Gordon
and Melky Cabrera had singles to load the bases. Eric Hosmer’s hit
scored Escobar. Francoeur’s sacrifice fly brought home Gordon for
his 500th career RBI.
The Royals have lost 11 of 14 to drop a season-low eight games
NOTES: Manager Ned Yost said the Royals still haven’t decided
yet who will start Tuesday in the place of RHP Sean O’Sullivan, who
went on the disabled list Friday with biceps tendinitis. … Twins
LF Brian Dinkelman had a memorable big league debut. He was hit by
the first pitch he saw in the second inning. His sixth inning
single was his first hit.