Royals put together late-game rally for second straight night, beat slumping Twins 6-1



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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Twins' Phil Hughes was so sharp through seven innings Wednesday night that Royals manager Ned Yost kept looking up at the scoreboard and doing a double-take.

"It looked like every inning his pitch count was going down instead of up," Yost said with a shake of his head. "I'm like, 'Man, how do we get rid of this guy?'"

With a blooper, a bunt and some well-timed base hits.

The Royals finally broke through against Hughes with six runs in the eighth inning, sending them to a 6-1 victory with their second consecutive late-game comeback. Nori Aoki drove in the go-ahead run, and Billy Butler and Salvador Perez each drove in a pair during the surge.

"I can remember probably two hard-hit balls tonight. That's how baseball is going to go," Hughes said. "That's a team over there that finds a way and battles."

In the series opener, the Royals were getting shut out until the ninth inning, when Alex Gordon delivered a two-run homer for a 2-1 win. This time, it was a series of bloopers and infield singles that allowed Kansas City to finally crack the Twins in the waning innings.

"We're just living on a high right now," said Jarrod Dyson, whose perfect bunt scored the tying run. "We're going out and having fun and playing like we're 5 years old."

Wade Davis (8-2) pitched a perfect eighth for the win, helping the Royals extend their lead over Detroit to 2 1/2 games in the AL Central. They have won 11 of their past 13 at home.

Minnesota has lost four straight and eight of 11 overall.

"We've scored two runs in two games here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not going to win very many games."

The Royals' rally began when Raul Ibanez led off the eighth with a blooper to right, and Mike Moustakas beat out an infield hit with a dive to first base. Two batters later, Dyson put down his bunt and pinch runner Lorenzo Cain slid home to knot the game 1-all.

Aoki, Butler and Perez took care of things from there.

"That's kind of who we are," Yost said. "We're a team that plays with a lot of heart."

Most of the game had been an entertaining duel between Hughes (14-9), who had won his last four starts, and Liam Hendriks, a former Twins pitcher making his Royals debut.

Hughes gave up singles in each of the first two innings before finding his groove, allowing one other baserunner until his fateful eighth. Hendriks retired the first 14 batters he faced, and never ran into trouble until Kennys Vargas singled with one out in the seventh.

Oswaldo Arcia followed with a double off the wall to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead, but that was all the Twins could manage against Hendriks and the Royals bullpen.

"That was awesome," Hendriks said. "It was a good way to start off in Kansas City."

LATE-GAME BLUES

The Twins had been 41-2 when taking a lead into the eighth inning. Now, they have lost two straight in such fashion. "We've got two pretty good starts back-to-back nights and haven't found a way to win," Hughes said. "Those are games you really hope you can take."

CROWD BUILDS

There was a crowd of 17,668 on hand, about 4,000 more than for the series opener. Yost had mentioned the sparse attendance Tuesday night, and he applauded the energy showed by the fans that turned out Wednesday. "It was electric," Yost said.

WADE IN THE WATERS

Davis extended his scoreless inning streak to 28 2-3, best in the majors. He's allowed two runs over his last 50 outings for a 0.34 ERA — and one earned run in his last 48 innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco was feeling better after gutting through a bout with the flu the previous night. Nolasco scattered three hits over seven innings in a no decision.

Royals: 2B Omar Infante (shoulder inflammation) could return to the starting lineup Friday, Yost said. Christian Colon started in his place for the second straight night.

UP NEXT

Twins: LHP Tommy Milone makes his third start since arriving in Minnesota. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings against Detroit his last time out.

Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie allowed one run over eight innings his last time out in Texas. He faced the Twins 10 days ago at Target Field, lasting seven innings in a 12-6 win.

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