It wasn’t as dramatic as the bomb hit off the center field wall the previous day, but Kendrys Morales’ RBI double in the Royals’ 7-1 victory over the Twins on Monday delivered the same punch.
This time, Morales’ shift-beating grounder along the left-field line in the sixth inning scored Mike Moustakas from second and broke a 1-1 tie. The Royals piled on, with Eric Hosmer coming home on a wild pitch and Morales scoring on Salvador Perez’s sacrifice fly.
Morales added an RBI single in the eighth, ahead of Paulo Orlando’s two-run triple — Orlando’s fifth of the season — to complete another productive game.
A day earlier, Morales’ eighth-inning blast to dead center drove in two runs, breaking a tie and allowing the Royals to take an emotional series from the Athletics, one filled with beanballs and bench-clearing standoffs.
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Monday’s proceedings did not carry the same drama, but it did include one of the Royals’ best efforts from a starting pitcher in the young season.
Edinson Volquez, 2-1, kept the Twins off-balance in his seven innings, striking out five and walking one.
In avenging his loss at Minnesota last week, Volquez battled out of one inning. Only in the second did the Twins put more than one runner on.
Taking the loss was Kyle Gibson, and this was a rarity. Gibson, the former Missouri All-American, was making his fifth career start against the Royals and seeking his fifth victory.
He entered the game having pitched 26 innings against the Royals and not once did an inning end with the Twins behind. He extended that streak to 31 before the Royals’ big sixth inning, which opened when left fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped Moustakas’ drive to left.
Alcides Escobar, back in action after missing two games recovering from the knee injury that got the region’s attention, opened the third with a double down the left field line.
Moustakas’ grounder to second advanced Escobar one base, and Hosmer took a ball four on a ball that bounced in front of Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki and to the backstop, allowing Escobar to score.
Escobar’s knee was bruised during a hard slide by the Athletics’ Brett Lawrie last Friday.
Manager Ned Yost said Escobar could have played in an emergency the last two days but decided on the rest.
“It’s good right now and I’m happy to be back in the lineup,” Escobar said before the game.
He was surprised he wasn’t injured more severely on the play. “I thought I broke my leg or my ankle,” Escobar said. “When I saw the replay, I said, “Wow. That’s hard.’ ”
Hosmer’s first error of the season led to the Twins’ run.
A walk to Brian Dozier and single by Trevor Plouffe opened the second inning, and Eduardo Escobar appeared to help Volquez out of the jam by grounding sharply to Hosmer.
But Hosmer’s throw to Escobar, who was covering second, tailed and bounced off the top of Escobar’s glove and the ball settled far enough away to allow Dozier to score.
The Royals missed an opportunity to answer in their half of the inning. Perez attempted to score from first on a double by Alex Gordon that one-hopped to the wall. Center fielder Jordan Schafer played it perfectly, and the relay throw by shortstop Danny Santana easily beat Perez.
The inning stayed alive with walks to Orlando and Christian Colon, but Jarrod Dyson swung at Gibson’s first offering and grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect eighth inning, and without a save situation the ninth inning went to Ryan Madson instead of Wade Davis.
Yost said before the game that Greg Holland, the regular closer who was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday because of a strained pectoral muscle, received encouraging news on his status.
“It’s not a major strain,” Yost said. “Hopefully it’s going to rectify itself soon.”