Veterans lead the way in blowout win over Twins

Gordon knocks in five runs; Kennedy snaps winless streak with strong outing

September 16th, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- For much of the Royals' recent surge -- the club has now won 14 of its last 20 -- it has been the youngsters who have provided the big plays or pitching performances.

But on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium, it looked like Royals veterans' night. delivered a pair of two-run doubles and drove in five runs, had three hits and three RBIs and right-hander snapped his 17-game winless streak in the Royals' 10-3 victory over the Twins.

The Royals have now won 13 of their last 15 games at home.

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Gordon had three hits and came through with a two-out double down the left-field line in the fourth inning that provided separation, pushing a 4-1 lead to 6-1. Gordon pulled through again in almost identical fashion in the sixth, lining another two-out double down the left-field line to make it 8-2.

"I'm just really proud of Alex Gordon, the way he continues to battle back," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had a rough year last year. He's had little spurts this year, but he's working really hard on beating that shift. When he is struggling, it's roll-over after roll-over, and you don't see that as much anymore. It's paying off for him.

"He had some fantastic at-bats. He was staying on the ball, driving it the other way. … I told him he looked like Rod Carew tonight, just peppering them down the left-field line."

Gordon smiled at the Carew comparison, but said, "I wouldn't go that far. I think I have a little more ways to go for something like that.

"I'm just trying to stay simple. I've been working with [hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and catching coach Pedro Grifol] a lot this year and trying to use the opposite way. Obviously, teams are shifting me, so a lot of my hits are going to come the other way, and that's what I've been trying to do. Not hitting into the shift, but hit it where they aren't. Tonight, it worked out."

Meanwhile, Kennedy dominated the Twins for the second time in a week. He gave up one earned run through six innings in his last start in Minnesota on Sunday, and this time he was just as good, giving up two runs (one earned run) through six innings. He walked two and struck out four and got his first win since April 7, when the Royals beat the Indians, 1-0. It was also his first home win since last September.

Kennedy's streak had been the second-longest active winless streak in the Majors. Tampa Bay's has gone 26 straight starts without a win, but he is a Rays' "opener" and hasn't lasted more than two innings in a start.

"I just knew it was a really long time [since my last win]," Kennedy said. "It was a matter of time before it happened.

"Sometimes, it's out of your control. There are some times when I pitch bad and sometimes when you pitch good and things don't work out. I was just happy to come back from the disabled list and pitch well."

Escobar was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle as he recorded his fourth three-hit game of the year. Catcher Cam Gallagher had his first career four-hit performance, scoring twice while knocking in a run.


"We're not looking at it like that. We're feeling like we're a quality team right now that's playing well. Whether you're young or old, we're just playing together and having fun. That's really all that matters. It doesn't matter who does it, just as long someone gets it done." -- Gordon, on if it was a special night for the Royals' older players amidst the youth movement


Right-hander Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.28 ERA) will get the start for the Royals in the series finale against the Twins at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Junis got a no-decision Monday night against the White Sox. He allowed three runs on seven hits over eight innings and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. Right-hander (7-13, 3.67 ERA), a former Missouri Tiger, will start for the Twins.