Royals
Twins
1 - 3 Final
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Baker, Mauer propel Twins past Royals

Jul 31, 2007 - 3:40 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan said his team wasn't conceding the season by trading second baseman Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for two prospects. The top of the lineup immediately went out and proved it.

The Twins strung together three straight hits capped off by Joe Mauer's two-RBI double to start the game and rode a solid start from Scott Baker to beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-1, on Monday.

Baker retired the first nine hitters he faced and gave Minnesota its third straight quality start, helping the Twins win their third straight game and shrink their deficit 6 1/2 games behind Detroit in the American League Central. The Tigers faced Oakland later Monday night.

Minnesota also pulled within six games of idle Cleveland in the wild card race.

"We've got a young man at third base we're working in, a young man at second base (Alexi Casilla) we're going to be working in, and in the meantime we're going to be trying to win and get back in this thing," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "All in all, that's what we're going for here: to catch everybody in front of us and get back to the playoffs.

"That's what everybody's goal should be out there, in the clubhouse, no matter what happens."

With Castillo in the final year of his contract, the Twins decided to move forward without their creaky-kneed veteran leadoff hitter. Castillo said he was disappointed to be leaving and the clubhouse was somber before the game.

But after going eight straight games without a first-inning hit, Jason Tyner singled to lead off the game and Jason Bartlett followed with a base hit to move Tyner to third. Mauer doubled them both home, giving Baker all the runs he would need.

"I was trying to set the tone a little bit, trying to have a good at-bat right away," Tyner said. "That was big, we gave Scott a little breathing room and he pitched great."

Baker (5-4) made it through the first three innings unscathed before David DeJesus led off the fourth inning with a double. Mark Grudzielanek singled him home in the next at-bat but, after stealing second base while Mark Teahen struck out, he was doubled off on Billy Butler's pop-out to second base.

Baker didn't allow a baserunner after Grudzielanek's hit, retiring 14 straight Royals hitters. He allowed just one run on a career-low two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in eight innings to win for the third time in his last five starts.

"It's a good thing when you could feel it, and I could feel it tonight," Baker said. "I could feel what adjustment I needed to make and it only took me a couple hitters to do it."

The start for Baker marked the third time this season he has allowed only one earned run through at least seven innings, but Monday was the first time he was rewarded with a win. He went 0-1 in the other two outings.

"It all starts with your starting pitcher, and Scott was very good," Gardenhire said. "He had all his pitches working - his slider, his changeup, his fastball obviously - he was cutting balls in on their hands and kept them off-balance."

Minnesota added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Mauer singled home Tyner, who doubled to lead off the frame.

Joe Nathan set down the side in order for his 23rd save in 25 chances.

After giving up three hits and a walk to start the game, Royals starter Gil Meche was nearly as effective, allowing just four more hits through the seventh inning.

Meche (7-8) left the game after seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. He lost his second straight start after going 4-0 in his previous seven outings.

"Gil was real good," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "Both guys pitched good, we just couldn't get to their guy. They got to Gil early, he shut them down after that."

Tyner was solid in Castillo's former leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with a triple, double and two runs scored. Justin Morneau went 2-for-3 with a walk while Mauer had two hits and three RBI.

The Royals' Nos. 3 through 9 hitters combined to go 0-for-21. The loss snapped Kansas City's four-game winning streak and dropped the Royals to 4-2 in their last six road games.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
    MINNESOTA 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 3 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: KAN - GIL MECHE, JIMMY GOBBLE (8TH) AND JOHN BUCK
    MIN - SCOTT BAKER, JOE NATHAN (9TH) AND JOE MAUER

    HOME RUNS: KAN - NONE
    MIN - NONE

    Jul 30 10:29 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED JASON TYNER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MAUER ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.301, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Royals vs. TwinsJul 30 10:15 PM
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    Royals vs. TwinsJul 30 9:21 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK GRUDZIELANEK SCORED DAVID DEJESUS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M GRUDZIELANEK ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M TEAHEN (.284, 0-FOR-1)

    Royals vs. TwinsJul 30 9:03 PM
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    Royals vs. TwinsJul 30 8:55 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED JASON TYNER AND JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J MAUER ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 0
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.297, 28 HR, 89 RBI)

    Royals vs. TwinsJul 30 8:23 PM
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