MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andrelton Simmons and Mitch Garver homered in a seven-run third inning, and rookie Alex Kirilloff went deep for the fourth time in three games as the Minnesota Twins routed the Kansas City Royals 13-4 on Sunday.
José Berríos (3-2) took advantage of Minnesota’s recent tear at the plate to win for the first time in four starts. Berríos gave up four runs on six hits and struck out nine in six innings.
The Twins have won three of four and scored 35 runs during that stretch.
“More energy is a good way to put it,” Garver said. “I think approaches have been more consistent one through nine. Sometimes the ball hasn’t gone our way over the last few weeks, whether it’s a bloop that’s been caught. We hit a couple balls hard today that were caught also. Some of those things are starting to fall our way and I think that’s a good sign for things to come.”
Kansas City starter Brad Keller was undone by the long ball and his own defense. Keller (2-3) gave up all seven runs in the third, but only two were earned after a pair of errors by third baseman Hunter Dozier.
Dozier later hit a three-run homer, but the AL Central-leading Royals have lost three of five.
“It was a very good road trip for us,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We did a lot of things well, just this one and the first game here, too, both of those aren’t very indicative of the kind of club we’ve been all season.”
Keller cruised through the first two innings, but things unraveled quickly in the third. The right-hander hit Jake Cave with a pitch and Simmons followed with his first home run of the season to the second deck in left field. Garver capped the inning with a three-run shot an estimated 436 feet to the second deck in left.
“Giving up the home run right there was definitely 100% on me, just missed location,” Keller said. “I felt like that’s what it was all day. Even if it was in the zone, it was not exactly where I wanted it to go. So, the burden is still on me, 100%.”
Kansas City couldn’t capitalize on some shaky defense by Minnesota in the sixth as Berríos struck out the final two batters he faced, yelling into his glove as he walked off the mound at the end of the inning.
STARTING TO SHOW
Kirilloff, one of the top prospects in Minnesota’s organization, started his career 0 for 15. The hits started to fall and now he’s showing power. Kirilloff, who debuted in the playoffs last season, hit his first career homer Friday as part of a two-homer game. He went 4 for 12 in the series with eight RBIs.
“He was swinging it good when he didn’t have any hits,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s a good major league hitter the day we called him up and put him out there. We thought he could hit major league pitching. He’s showing us what he can do. It’s fun to watch good hitters, I’ll tell you that.”
Royals: RHP Brady Singer is scheduled to start Wednesday in his regular rotation spot after his foot was bruised Friday on a comebacker. … C Cam Gallagher took foul balls off his helmet on consecutive pitches in the eighth. After each one, Gallagher took time to recover and was attended to by a trainer, but he stayed in the game. Matheny said Gallagher was going through tests after the game.
Twins: Baldelli said 1B Miguel Sanó (right hamstring strain) will likely be activated in the middle of the upcoming week. The team wants Sanó to get his timing down and he will hit off high-velocity machines.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (1-1, 3.47 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland on Monday as Kansas City returns home. Junis is coming off his first quality start of the season, when he took his first loss against Pittsburgh. RHP Aaron Civale (4-0, 2.94) is scheduled to pitch for the Indians.
Twins: The homestand continues with four games against Texas, with RHP Kenta Maeda (1-2, 6.56) looking to bounce back Monday. Maeda has allowed 12 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts. The Rangers will start RHP Dane Dunning (1-1, 3.97).
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