Royals Pummel Twins 9-1

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MINNEAPOLIS — After building a hefty lead early, the Kansas City Royals cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field.

The Royals (64-77, 33-39 away) took a 3-0 lead on a two-run RBI triple by center fielder Lorenzo Cain in the second inning, and took a 4-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by catcher Sal Perez in the fourth.

Starting lefty Will Smith (5-7, 4.94 ERA) took advantage of the early lead. In 5 innings, Smith gave up no runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking three.

Twins lefty Scott Diamond (11-7, 3.46 ERA) gave up four runs on 10 hits in 6 innings, fanning two and walking three.

A two-run RBI triple by shortstop Alcides Escobar gave the Royals a 7-0 lead in the eighth. First baseman Eric Hosmer’s solo home run in the ninth was icing on the cake, his 14th HR this season.

The Twins (59-83, 28-42 home) went 1-9 with runners in scoring position.

The Royals need to go 12-9 over their last 21 games to finish 76-86. If that feat is achieved, it would be the club’s best record since 2003, when they finished with a record of 83-79.

Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.36 ERA) takes the mound against Twins starter P.J. Walters (2-3, 6.05 ERA) for game two on Wednesday night at Target Field.

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