KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Alcides Escobar had two hits and two RBIs and Scott Alexander picked up his first major league victory as the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Sunday.
The Royals have won 15 of 21 games to move a game above .500 and into a tie with the Twins for second place in the American League Central.
Escobar went 7-for-16 with four extra-base hits, including a home run, with seven RBIs and scored four runs in the four-game series. He has raised his average 50 points since June 13 from .180 to .230, going 27-for-71, .380, in that 19-game span.
Escobar doubled in Ramon Torres and scored on Whit Merrifield’s double in a three-run third.Escobar’s single in the fifth scored Jorge Soler, who led off the inning with a double.
Travis Wood, who was making his first start since Sept. 19, 2015 while with the Chicago Cubs and 108 relief appearances, was pulled after 81 pitches and four-plus innings. He had not thrown more than 49 pitches in an outing this year and that’s the most pitches he had thrown in a game since 97 on May 14, 2015.
Wood was removed in the fifth after facing three batters and retiring none. Brian Dozier and Robbie Grossman had RBI-singles in the inning.
Alexander (1-2) replaced Wood and induced Eduardo Escobar to ground into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded.
Merrifield had three hits, including two doubles, scored a run, drove in a run and stole three bases.
Hector Santiago (4-8) was charged with four runs on four hits, a hit batter and a walk. In his last three starts, Santiago has a 12.38 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs in eight innings. He is 0-7 in his past eight outings.
ROYALS LINEUP ALTERATIONS
Gordon started in center field for only the second time in his career, while Brandon Moss was the Royals’ starting first baseman for the second time this season. 1B Eric Hosmer was the DH for the third time this year. CF Lorenzo Cain, who played in every June game and in both games Saturday, was rested. Cain was the Royals player of the month, hitting .333 with eight home runs and 26 runs in June.
TWINS: IF Ehire Adrianza (abdominal strain) has been rehabbing with Triple-A Rochester and could be activated Monday.
Royals: A MRI revealed LHP Matt Strahm has a torn left patella tendon. Strahm will seek a second opinion. The Royals won’t know the severity or recovery timetable until after the second opinion. Manager Ned Yost said he is not sure Strahm will require surgery. Strahm said his knee popped while jumping for a chopper over his head Saturday. “I’m just trying to manage the pain,” Strahm said.
Twins: Rookie LHP Adelberto Mejia will start Monday against the Angels in the opener of a seven-game homestand. He has pitched 10 2/3 scoreless innings in his past two starts.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy draws the starting assignment Monday at Seattle.