Royals edge Twins, widen lead in AL Central
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh Willingham had a three-run double and Alcides Escobar also knocked in three runs, and the Royals widened their lead in the AL Central with a 6-5 victory over Minnesota in the opener of a four-game series.
Greg Holland surrendered two runs in the ninth inning, but managed to secure his 37th save of the season for Kansas City, which moved 1 1/2 games clear of Detroit in the division. The Tigers lost at home to Seattle Friday night.
Danny Duffy (8-10) was charged with six hits and three runs -- two earned -- over 5 1/3 innings to get the win.
Ricky Nolasco (5-8), who was activated off the disabled list prior to the game, gave up seven hits and five runs in six frames.
Willingham, who was traded from Minnesota on Monday, batted sixth and served as the designated hitter. He also delivered the big blow, a go-ahead hit into the left-field corner in the fourth inning to plate Salvador Perez, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon with nobody out.
"That's what good hitters do, they make you pay in those type of RBI situations," Nolasco said. "He's (Willingham) been doing that for a long time and that was pretty much the difference in the game, that one pitch."
After Mike Moustakas singled, Escobar tripled to the gap in right-center field as Danny Santana took a poor route to the ball. That increased the lead to 5-2.
Trevor Plouffe scored on a double-play grounder from Oswaldo Arcia in the home fourth, but the Royals widened the advantage in the eighth when Escobar's single scored Gordon.
Arcia doubled in a run in the ninth and scored on a groundout from pinch- hitter Chris Parmelee. Santana struck out swinging to end the game.
A throwing error from Duffy allowed a run to score in the third, and Brian Dozier's groundout sent Jordan Schafer home.
The Twins opened a roster spot for Nolasco when they optioned right-hander Yohan Pino to Triple-A Rochester ... Nolasco was put on the DL July 8 with a right elbow strain ... The Twins, who started a 10-day, 11-game homestand, went 1-for-11 with men in scoring position ... Twins first baseman Joe Mauer doubled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a career-best.
08/16 00:51:29 ET