MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Minor’s road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.
Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the Kansas City Royalsk, who beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Sunday in a doubleheader opener.
Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City’s four home runs, and Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to boost the sluggish Royals offense.
Minor (1-1) relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popout. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.
He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta at the New York Mets, and his first win as a reliever.
Kelvin Herrera pitched a one-hit ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.
Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn’t pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Yost said. “I thought he did a nice job. We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game.”
Phil Hughes (4-3) gave up five runs and six hits – including three homers – in four innings, his second-shortest outing this season.
It was the Royals’ first win against the Twins this year in seven games, stopping a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota dating to last season.
Perez hit a two-run homer in the second, Jorge Bonifacio hit a two-run drive in the fourth and Moss homered two pitches later for a 5-0 lead. Moss homered again in the eighth against Adam Wilk.
That early offense helped Junis relax a bit in his first career start and just his third appearance in the majors.
“The offense came up huge,” Junis said. “Those home runs definitely make my job a little bit easier on the pitching side of things.”
A rainout Saturday resulted in the first straight doubleheader in the history of Target Field, which opened in 2010. Adalberto Mejia (0-1) was to start the second game for Minnesota and Ian Kennedy (0-3) was to be activated from the disabled list to start for Kansas City. Mejia was called up as the Twins’ 26th active player.
Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon was to miss the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi will take Gordon’s spot on the lineup while Gordon is gone on paternity leave. RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.
Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday’s start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.