Jorge Soler hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run first inning, Hunter Dozier went deep for the third straight game against Minnesota, and the two young sluggers helped Kansas City cruise to a 7-2 victory Friday night to open a third straight weekend series against its AL Central rival.
It also created an easy night for Danny Duffy (2-2), who pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and then suddenly found himself with a 4-0 lead. Duffy wound up needing 81 pitches to get through five, but he permitted just four hits and a pair of walks while striking out six. The only run he allowed came on Ehire Adrianza’s groundout with a runner on third.
”Fastball command, was able to throw some sinkers in there that moved a lot. Curveball was good. The slider was the best it has been all year,” said Duffy, who also happened to punch out a handful of Twins with his changeup.
Twins starter Jake Odorizzi (0-1) allowed five runs and seven hits before he was literally knocked from the game.
Alex Gordon drilled him with a liner in the ribs in the fourth inning, and the right-hander who began his career in the Kansas City organization went to the ground immediately. It took several minutes before Odorizzi could walk gingerly to the dugout. X-rays taken at the ballpark were negative, and the Twins called his injury a bruised right abdomen.
”That’s a frightening moment. You never want to see anything like that on a field or anywhere else,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. ”Jake’s abdomen took the brunt of it. He’s OK. He’s pretty sore, obviously. He’s got a pretty good mark, visible from across the room. He was able to avoid serious injury, which is really all we’re caring about at this point.”
The Royals, who have struggled to give Duffy much run support, staked him to a big lead right out of the gate.
Whit Merrifield opened the game with a crisp double and, after Nicky Lopez put runners on the corners with a base hit, Dozier followed with an RBI single. That merely set the table for the power-hitting Soler, who boosted a hanging 1-2 pitch over the left-field bullpen for his sixth homer of the season.
The Twins scratched out a run in the second on a walk, single and groundout but kept squandering chances. They left a runner in scoring position when Max Kepler struck out, then left runners stranded on the corners in the third.
The Royals answered with a run in the fourth. They tacked on two more on Dozier’s homer in the seventh.
”Any time you can barrel a ball,” Dozier said, ”it feels pretty good.”
RHP Brady Singer (1-2, 4.56 ERA) is scheduled to make his sixth career start for the Royals and Minnesota is scheduled to counter with Randy Dobnak for tonight’s game. Pregame begins at 5:30, and you can hear that on KMMO AM 1300. Game coverage starts at 6 o’clock, and you can hear the broadcast from the Royals’ Radio Network on KMMO FM 102.9.