Nelson Cruz hit his 10th homer, Marwin Gonzalez had two RBIs and closer Taylor Rogers dodged trouble in the ninth inning to lift the Minnesota Twins over the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Sunday.
Cruz hit a solo shot to center field in the ninth inning for a two-run lead, helping the Twins win their eighth series in nine tries this season.
Max Wisler opened with two scoreless innings for Minnesota and Tyler Clippard (1-0) got the win with a perfect eighth. Rogers allowed an RBI single to Maikel Franco in the ninth but retired Alex Gordon to complete his sixth save.
Kris Bubic (0-4), the Royals’ 2018 first-round pick, allowed four runs and nine hits in 3-1/3 innings. He’s yet to get a win in any of his five big-league starts.
Minnesota’s Miguel Sano scored Max Kepler on an RBI double to right-center to plate the first run of the game, and Eddie Rosario scored Sano on an RBI single the next at-bat to lead 2-0.
After three straight singles in the third by Cruz, Sano and Rosario — two of which didn’t leave the infield — Gonzalez scored two with a double to left field to extend the score to 4-0.
The Royals responded right away when Meibrys Viloria walked, Hunter Dozier doubled for one of his career-high four hits, which was then followed by a double by Jorge Soler, which scored both runners to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
With two outs in the seventh, Dozier singled, Soler walked and Franco hit an RBI single right Gonzalez’s glove at third to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Royals’ best chance to take the lead came right after that with the bases loaded with two outs, but Adalberto Mondesi struck out against Sergio Romo.
Royals: Travel to St. Louis for a three-game series starting Monday night. RHP Brad Keller (3-0, 0.00) faces Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (1-0, 3.12).