MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Kansas City Royals scored seven runs in the second inning. Then they really started hitting the ball.
Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Josh Willingham homered, and the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 12-6 on Sunday for their 20th win in their last 25 games.
Kansas City sent 11 batters to the plate in the big second, keyed by two-run singles for Alcides Escobar and Nori Aoki. The Royals then started hitting the ball out of the park after a 54-minute rain delay in the fourth.
Gordon sent one drive into a flower bed in right-center. Perez lined one into the left-field seats, and Willingham’s homer traveled an estimated 433 feet into the third deck in left field.
“Those tack on runs are huge,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals also increased their AL Central lead to 1 1/2 games over Detroit, which lost 8-1 to Seattle. This is the latest the Royals have been in first place since 2003.
Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie (9-10) returned to the mound after the delay in the fourth and lasted seven innings, yielding home runs by Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas.
Oswaldo Arcia also went deep for Minnesota, hitting a two-run drive off Jason Frasor in the eighth for his 11th homer.
But Kansas City’s post-rain delay power surge helped it remain in control despite the Twins showing some power of their own.
“You gotta fight for 27 outs,” Perez said. “We continued to play hard. We needed to keep hitting it until the game was over.”
In his second start with Minnesota since coming over in a trade from Oakland, Tommy Milone (6-4) allowed seven runs in a career-low 1 1-3 innings.
“Awful. The first inning was good, the second one was pretty awful,” Milone said. “Couldn’t get a good feel, try not to walk guys, left the ball over the plate. It was pretty tough.”
The first pitch was delayed 34 minutes in anticipation of a rain shower that never happened. The rain did arrive as the second inning started and got worse until umpires called the players off the field with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
After managing just one run in Saturday night’s 4-1 loss, the Royals scored 10 or more for just the third time since June 17.
“With the weather and everything, we were pretty good,” Perez said. “We fought through it.”
GUTHRIE COMES BACK OUT
Guthrie helped save a tired Royals bullpen by staying in the game after the rain delay. “Just to be able to maneuver through that made it a good day for us,” Yost said.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t going to blame the weather for Milone’s bad second inning. “They played through the same thing,” Gardenhire said. “They got it done, we didn’t.”
NO-RAIN RAIN DELAY
It wasn’t the first time this season the Twins have had a game delayed by rain that never arrived. The first pitch for Minnesota’s 5-4 loss to Houston at Target Field on June 6 was pushed back 81 minutes even though not a drop fell from the sky.
ROYALS: Setup man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland were available on Sunday, a day after manager Ned Yost gave each reliever a day off.
ROYALS: Coming off his sixth career shutout vs. Oakland, Jason Vargas (9-5) starts the finale of the four-game series on Monday. Vargas has a 0.86 ERA in three starts against Minnesota this year and hasn’t allowed a run in the last two.
TWINS: Trevor May (0-1) will try and bounce back after walking seven batters over two innings during his first major league start on Aug. 9. “He’s been like a raging bull out there,” Gardenhire said. “We gotta calm him down right now.”