KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kyle Gibson finally learned what it's like to lose to Kansas City
The Twins starter had dominated the Royals the first four times he had faced them, including a victory last week at Target Field. But his fortune finally ran out Monday night when the Royals took advantage of a series of miscues to pull away for a 7-1 victory.
"Pitching well in a loss, I don't know the exact terminology I want to use, but it doesn't feel too good when you pitch well in a loss," said Gibson, who allowed four runs in five-plus innings. "The team win is most important."
Twins manager Paul Molitor said that Gibson (1-2) didn't have much command.
"Four walks and a couple of wild pitches," Molitor said. "He was struggling with his feel for off-speed pitches. His last start he had a good slider and changeup. Tonight he had to battle with his fastball. He didn't give up a lot of hits, but had a lot of base runners.
Edinson Volquez (2-1) had no such trouble. He allowed just five hits while striking out five with only one walk, wiggling out of jams whenever he got into them.
"It feels good because the way I'm pitching, I'm carrying over everything," said Volquez, who went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA for Pittsburgh last year. "Just trying to do what I did."
The Royals' defense, featuring three Gold Glove winners, sure helped him out.
After first baseman Eric Hosmer threw the ball away trying to start a double play in the second inning — helping to contribute to Minnesota's only run — he was on the receiving end of a double-play relay to end the threat. Alex Gordon also made a diving catch in left field, and Mike Moustakas made a couple of difficult plays at third base look routine.
The Royals left the bases loaded against Gibson in the second, but they evened the score in the third. Escobar doubled to lead off the inning, went to third on Moustakas's groundout, then trotted home easily when Gibson's pitch in the dirt got away from catcher Kurt Suzuki.
The score remained deadlocked until the sixth, when the Twins' Oswaldo Arcia dropped a slicing liner from Moustakas in left field. Hosmer worked a full-count walk, and Morales hit a double down the left-field line to give Kansas City its first lead of the game.
Hosmer scored moments later on a wild pitch by reliever Blaine Boyer, and Perez added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 through six innings.
Morales added an insurance run in the eighth when the Twins lost track of a pop fly in shallow right field, and Orlando's two-run triple moments later put things out of reach.
Kelvin Herrera breezed through the eighth inning in relief of Volquez, and former Phillies closer Ryan Madson handled the ninth inning to wrap up the win.
"We've had a few of those games where they've had shape for a while and then things kind of broke down for us," Molitor said. "We missed the play in left and we can't contain them at the end to give ourselves a chance."
Orlando has been a solid fill-in for OF Alex Rios, who continues to recover from a broken finger. His triple against Minnesota was his fifth in 26 at-bats.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday for Class A Cedar Rapids. He threw off a mound Sunday with no problems.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (2-0) went 5 1-3 innings to beat the Royals last Thursday.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (1-1) allowed 10 hits and five runs in three innings against the Twins last Thursday. It was his shortest start since 2011.
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