MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Benintendi hit two homers, Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs, and the Kansas City Royals cruised to an 11-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Danny Duffy (4-1) continued his strong start to the season in helping the AL Central-leading Royals bounce back from Friday night’s 9-1 loss. He allowed one run and two hits in seven innings, striking out seven.
“With Duffy on the mound, we know what we’re going to get,” Benintendi said. “To give ourselves a little lead there early to where it seems like sometimes we get down early and we’ve got to fight back. So, to get the lead early was nice.”
Kansas City’s 16-9 start is good for a .640 winning percentage, which is the third-best mark through 25 games in team history.
Matt Shoemaker (1-3) couldn’t sustain Minnesota’s momentum after back-to-back wins. He gave up a career-high nine runs and tied his career-high with eight earned runs allowed in just 3 1/3 innings.
“It’s going to turn,” Shoemaker said after his ERA rose to 7.83. “It’s going to change. I’m going to keep fighting to get better. It’s going to happen. It’s just frustrating.”
Alex Kiriloff homered for the second straight day for Minnesota and Nelson Cruz added his 425th career homer.
Kiriloff’s homer in the seventh ended Duffy’s streak of 17 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
“He was about as sharp as we’ve seen him,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve seen him a decent amount over the last couple of years, and he pitched well. We have to do more, I think we have to force the issue and keep him in the zone and get on top of some of those fastballs better. But he did a good job.”
Duffy started the day with the best ERA in the majors (0.39), ahead of Jacob deGrom’s 0.51 mark. Duffy has allowed one earned run in his first four starts this season and exited this game with his ERA at 0.60.
“When you’ve got four pitches working, it’s a good thing,” Duffy said. “Want to keep that going and keep feeling the way I feel.”
Perez had an RBI double to start the scoring in the first and then followed with his sixth homer of the season in the third. The home run gave Perez 18 at Target Field, the most by an opposing player at the 12-year-old stadium.
Teammate Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion each have hit 17 homers at Target Field. Encarnacion was also passed on the all-time home run list by Cruz’s homer in the game.
Kansas City recalled LHP Kris Bubic from the team’s alternate training site and optioned IF/OF Ryan McBroom to the alternate site. Bubic was 1-6 with an 8.59 ERA in 10 starts for the Royals last season.
Royals: RHP Kyle Zimmer was placed on the injured list prior to the game with a left trap strain. He is 2-0 with one save and a 3.38 ERA in 11 games this season. RHP Jake Newberry was recalled from the team’s alternate site to take his spot on the active roster. … Manager Mike Matheny said RHP Brady Singer is responding well to treatment after taking a liner off his foot in Friday’s game and sustaining a contusion.
Twins: 1B Miguel Sanó (right hamstring strain) will stay in Minnesota with the team as the Triple-A St. Paul team goes on the road to begin its season. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Sanó is doing well physically, but he wants to see Sanó face live pitching before returning him from the injured list.
RHP Brad Keller (2-2, 9.00 ERA) will start the final game of the series on Sunday for Kansas City and will be matched up with Minnesota RHP José Berríos (2-2, 3.04). Keller is coming off his first quality start of the season where he allowed two runs in six innings in a win against Detroit. Berríos hasn’t allowed more than five hits in any start this season and he started the day ninth in the American League with 33 strikeouts.
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