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Royals rarities: Home run, winning streak

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, June 6, 2013, at 11:43 p.m.

— Hey, what’s this? A little life, suddenly, from the once-thinning blue wave?

The Royals have their first two-game winning streak in more than a month after rallying Thursday for a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium.

Eric Hosmer’s RBI single in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie and ignited a four-run burst that Lorenzo Cain capped with a two-run homer.

That’s right.

A homer. The first homer by a Royals player in 52 innings. And the first homer by a Royals player with someone on base in 148 innings — or since Miguel Tejada’s three-run laser on May 20 in Houston.

Yep, it’s been a while.

Tim Collins (2-1) got the victory, after working two perfect innings, when Greg Holland pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.

The last time the Royals won consecutive games was May 4-5 against the White Sox, which preceded a 4-19 collapse. The Royals also won a series, two of three, for the first time since May 13-15 at Los Angeles.

It was 3-3 when Alex Gordon started the eighth inning with a slicing double to left center against reliever Jared Burton (0-3) that just fell beyond the diving attempt by center fielder Clete Thomas.

Hosmer followed by pulling a single — pulling a single! — through the right side for the go-ahead run.

That was the magical fourth run; the Royals are now 18-5 when they scored at least four runs.

But they weren’t done.

Salvy Perez’s grounder to second resulted in a force at second, but Billy Butler drove an RBI double into the right-field corner. And the Royals had a two-run lead.

Pinch-runner Elliot Johnson went to third on Mike Moustakas’ grounder to second before Cain sent a 396-foot bomb over the left-field fence.

The Royals trailed 3-2 before pulling even against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey in the sixth after Hosmer’s one-out fly to left eluded a twisting, turning Josh Willingham for a double.

Perez followed with a RBI single to right and took second on the throw to the plate. But shortstop Pedro Florimon turned Butler’s bid for a tie-breaking single into an out on a wide-ranging play up the middle.

The Royals also missed a chance to take the lead in the seventh after David Lough reached on a one-out single and went to second on a throwing error by Pelfrey on a pickoff attempt.

That error set the Twins’ bullpen in motion. Brian Duensing retired Chris Getz on a grounder to second, which moved Lough to third, before Casey Fien ended the inning by getting Alcides Escobar on a pop to second.

That only set the stage for the four-run eighth.

Royals starter Wade Davis battled his command in throwing 107 pitches in just five innings but permitted just three unearned runs. All came in the first inning after a Moustakas throwing error.

Luke Hochevar pitched a scoreless sixth before Collins followed with two scoreless innings.

The start couldn’t have been much worse.

Jamey Carroll’s leadoff grounder to third resulted in a two-base throwing error by Moustakas. Carroll went to third on Joe Mauer’s grounder short before Davis threw a wild pitch on a third strike to Willingham.

Carroll scored, and Willingham reached first. Davis struck out Justin Morneau, but Ryan Doumit crushed a two-run homer to right for a 3-0 lead.

All three runs were unearned.

The Royals got two runs back in their second after loading the bases with no outs on singles from Butler, Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain.

Lough’s soft grounder to third resulted in a force at home, but Getz punched a two-run single through the left side. The chance for a bigger inning slipped away when Escobar lined into a double play.

Davis threatened to give it right back when the Twins loaded the bases with one out in the third. Mauer walked, Willingham was hit by a pitch and Morneau check-swinged a single to left.

But Davis stranded all three runners by striking out Doumit and retiring Chris Parmelee on a grounder to second.

Davis also worked around trouble in the fourth — runners at first and second — by retiring Mauer on a sharp hopper back to the mound.

It was more of the same in the fifth. The Twins put runners at first and second with one out, but Davis wiggled free. Parmelee grounded into a force at second before Thomas swung through a full-count pitch.

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