MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals rocked the Minnesota Twins and out-ran the incoming storms with an 12-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Target Field. Boosted by a seven-run rally in the second inning, the Royals held their hosts at bay for the rest of a rain-soaked day.
Jeremy Guthrie remained in the game after a 54-minute delay and completed seven innings of four-run baseball. After the delay, the Royals boomed three homers en route to a rout. The surplus of scoring allowed manager Ned Yost to rest his late-game duo of Wade Davis and Greg Holland for the second day in a row. He did use Kelvin Herrera, the team's seventh-inning stalwart, in the ninth with a six-run advantage.
The conditions marred the game's flow. The first pitch was thrown after a 34-minute wait. The tarp stayed stationary for the duration of the wait. At last, at 1:44 p.m., Twins starter Tommy Milone threw the day's first pitch. He needed nine to handle the first inning; the rest of his afternoon would be far less enjoyable.
Guthrie faced adversity in the game's first at-bat. Twins leadoff man Danny Santana stayed with a 1-2 curveball and slashed a liner into the gap between Alex Gordon and Jarrod Dyson. Gordon ran down the baseball, but Santana still cruised into third. Three batters after the triple, designated hitter Kennys Vargas shuttled a changeup into left for an RBI single.
As the frame ended, the skies opened. The Twins took the field, anyway. Milone absorbed a swift pounding. He loaded the bases by yielding a single to Billy Butler, plunking Alex Gordon with an 87-mph fastball and walking Josh Willingham on five pitches.
With one out, Alcides Escobar stuck his cleats in the muddy track by home plate. He punched a grounder up the middle, out of Milone's grasp and into center field for a two-run hit. After a walk by Jarrod Dyson, Escobar made a perfect read on a bloop single from Nori Aoki. He followed Willingham to the plate.
At this juncture, fortune smiled on the Royals. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire inched his fielders forward to defend against a groundball by Omar Infante. Caught in a miserable slump, with a .522 on-base plus slugging percentage in August heading into Sunday, he slapped a grounder toward All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier.
Dozier ranged to his right. Sliding across the slippery grass, he let the ball shoot into the outfield. Two runs scored. Butler smacked his second single of the inning to plate the seventh run.
The rain slackened for a spell. But at 2:42 p.m., thunder rumbled in the distance. A second delay started 18 minutes later. When the game resumed, Guthrie returned to the mound.
Once the Royals returned to hit, they picked up where they left off. Gordon clobbered a two-run shot off reliever Caleb Thielbar for his fourth homer this month. The runs were helpful: Guthrie yielded a two-run blast to Vargas in the bottom of the frame.
In the seventh inning, the players completed a quirky, collective achievement: They hit for the cycle against reliever Ryan Pressley. Salvador Perez roped a home run into the left-field seats. Gordon followed him with a triple. Josh Willingham provided an RBI double. When Escobar dunked a single into center, the feat was complete.
With the win, the Royals extended their lead in the American League Central to a game and a half over the Detroit Tigers, who lost earlier Sunday 8-1 to the Seattle Mariners.
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