Friday, April 11, 2008

Twins Shut Out Royals, 5-0

Livan Hernandez must have the Royals' number. For the second time in a week, Hernandez earned a victory against Kansas City, as he pitched seven shutout innings to help the Minnesota Twins post a 5-0 win Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Hernandez (3-0), who was signed as a free agent during the offseason, allowed seven hits and struck out three to become one of the first pitchers in Major League Baseball with three victories this season. In two wins against the Royals, Hernandez has given up 14 hits and just four earned runs in 14 innings, while striking out five and walking just one batter.

For the Royals (6-4), Gil Meche's early-season struggles continued. Kansas City's staff ace fell to 0-2 with an ugly 7.13 ERA after surrendering five earned runs on five hits in six innings. Meche struck out six Minnesota batters, but was hurt by the four walks he issued.

The Twins (5-5) scored four runs in the second inning, two of which came on a line-drive double to left by Carlos Gomez that got over the head of Royals left fielder Mark Teahen. Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau closed out the scoring in the top of the third inning, hitting his third home run of the year into the Royals' bullpen.

For Kansas City, third baseman Alex Gordon was the only Royals player with multiple hits, as he went 2-for-4 with a double. Every Kansas City starter had a hit, except for right fielder Jose Guillen, who was 0-for-4 and had his slumping average fall to .146 to start the year.

The Royals had a rally going in the bottom of the fifth, as shortstop Alberto Callaspo, center fielder Joey Gathright, and Teahen all singled to load the bases. But Guillen struck out swinging, and designated hitter Billy Butler grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.

The teams play the middle game of the series Saturday at 6:10 p.m. Right-hander Brett Tomko (1-0, 1.29) will throw for the Royals against the Twins' Boof Bonser (0-2, 4.15).

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