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Morneau lifts Twins over Royals in opener of doubleheader

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Associated Press
9/1/2012 7:17:45 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cole De Vries likes to face the Kansas City Royals.

Justin Morneau drove in two runs and Minnesota rookie De Vries beat the Royals again 3-1 on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader.

De Vries (4-5) has four career victories and three of them are against the Royals.

"Oh, I can't say that I know that," De Vries said of being 3-0 in as many starts against the Royals. "That makes me happy. That's pretty good."

So he owns them?

"I guess," he said and laughed. "Something is working. I feel like half of my starts have been against the Royals or the White Sox. I feel I know both those teams decently well. I feel comfortable pitching against both of them just because I've pitched against them so much."

He limited the Royals to one run on seven hits, walked none and struck out three over 6 2/3 innings.

"My two-seamer for whatever reason it just had a lot of movement, had pretty good control with it and I was getting a lot of awkward swings," De Vries said. "That and my curveball were definitely my two best today."

De Vries has won consecutive starts, holding Texas and Kansas City to 10 hits and two earned runs in 11 2-3 innings.

"Anytime you can get back-to-back wins, it's alright," De Vries said.

Morneau, who has 77 career RBIs against the Royals, doubled home Josh Willingham in the first inning with the first Twins' run.

Morneau's sacrifice fly to centre scored Pedro Florimon, who led off the fifth inning with a bunt single. Ryan Doumit's two-out single to right brought

home Darin Mastroianni with the other run.

Royals rookie Will Smith (4-7) lost his third consecutive start, giving up three runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out four in six-plus innings.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but reliever Vin Mazzaro got out of the jam when Doumit grounded into a double play after Morneau was intentionally walked. Mazzaro had not pitched since Aug. 21 in the minors.

The Royals chased De Vries in the seventh with three hits. Johnny Giavotella's two-out single scored Mike Moustakas.

"We just couldn't muster anything against him (De Vries)," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He does a nice job of keeping the ball down and getting us to swing at his pitches a lot more than we want to."

Glen Perkins worked the ninth for his ninth save in 12 opportunities.

Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur logged his major league-leading 16th assist in the fifth when he threw out Willingham trying to go from first to third.

Notes: Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins "might go" to a six-man rotation with the additions Saturday of RHPs P.J. Walters, who was reinstated from the disabled list, and Esmerling Vasquez, who was promoted from Triple-A Rochester and is scheduled to start Sunday against the Royals. Vasquez was strictly a reliever from 2009-11 with Arizona, but the Twins plan to look at him as a starter. Walters started before shoulder inflammation shut him down for 70 games. ...There were 6.54 inches of rain to fall at Kauffman Stadium in a 29-hour period before the first pitch Saturday, which was delayed 21 minutes. .The Royals recalled OF David Lough, who hit .275 with Triple-A Omaha, and C Manny Pina, who hit .260 in 43 games with Triple-A Northwest Arkansas after having right knee surgery in spring training. Lough started off the nightcap with a single in his first big league at-bat. ...The Royals dropped to 7-22 against theTwins, Seattle and Toronto, the three last-place teams in their AL divisions.

Justin Morneau (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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