The Minnesota Twins grabbed a crucial 7-1 home win over division rival Kansas City Royals Monday afternoon.
Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana kept Kansas City scoreless through three innings before giving up a home run to Jason Moutstakas to start the fourth. Twins slugger Miguel Sano answered back with a solo homer of his own in the bottom of the fourth, a hard-hit shot that landed in the second deck of left field.
Surrendering a home run did not rattle Santana, who pitched three more scoreless innings, finishing with two hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
The Twins offense caught fire in the seventh inning, when the Twins loaded the bases with no outs. Three Twins -- Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer, and Sano -- drew walks to bring in a run each. With the score 4-1, catcher Jason Castro connected on a single to bring Grossman and Mauer to home plate.
Another single from Jorge Polanco scored Sano, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead heading into the top of the eighth inning. Relief pitcher Matt Belisle retired the side, and Brandon Kintzler came on in the ninth to pick up the save.
Byron Buxton went 0-for-5 from the plate, with three strikeouts, but made his mark on the game with a pair of diving catches in center field.
Elsewhere in the American League Central on Monday, the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox were rained out in Chicago; the Cleveland Indians had the day off.
The win moves the Twins (1-0) into sole possession of first place in the American League Central, with a half-game lead on Cleveland (0-0), Chicago (0-0), and Detroit (0-0), and one game above Kansas City (0-1).
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