KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Jason Vargas notched his American League-leading 12th win, and first baseman Eric Hosmer skied a three-run homer just fair down the left-field line in an 8-1 victory over the Twins on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.The Royals moved to one game back of the second-place
KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Jason Vargas notched his American League-leading 12th win, and first baseman Eric Hosmer skied a three-run homer just fair down the left-field line in an 8-1 victory over the Twins on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals moved to one game back of the second-place Twins, who have lost four of five, in the AL Central.
Vargas, who tied Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for the most wins in the Majors, gave up just two hits and one run over seven innings. He walked four and struck out four in winning his seventh straight start. Only Bret Saberhagen has won more games (13 in 1987) through the end of June in club history.
"I don't know if there was one thing in particular that was working [tonight]," Vargas said. "The changeup kind of rescued me a few times we got in trouble. It's always good to work through that traffic."
Twins starter Ervin Santana, a potential All-Star Game starter along with Vargas, was roughed up for eight hits and seven runs (five earned) over 5 1/3 innings.
"Ervin was good early, but couldn't stop the bleeding," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We generated almost nothing off of [Vargas]. We talk about approach and we didn't execute well. I tried to think of a single guy who hit the ball to the opposite field and couldn't come up with one."
The Royals believe strongly that Vargas should be the All-Star Game starter for the AL squad.
"If I was [AL manager Terry Francona], he would be," Hosmer said. "I know he's done everything he can to be that guy. Everyone in here believes he should be."
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano continued his dominance of the Royals, driving in his 19th run against them with a third-inning single, matching a club record against the Royals in one season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Hosmer lean: The Royals tagged Santana for five runs in the fourth inning, three coming on Hosmer's 10th home run. With Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on base, Hosmer smacked a two-seam fastball the opposite way. Hosmer didn't drop his bat as he walked backward toward first base, eyeing whether or not the ball would stay fair. The ball appeared to nick the foul pole and was ruled a home run. After a review, the call was ruled to stand.
"Off the bat it was right in line with the pole," Hosmer said. "I was about halfway up the line. I turned around to look at [Salvador Perez] to see what he saw and he didn't know either. Just a waiting game from that point on."
Costly misplay: The Royals' five-run fourth was greatly aided by a throwing error from Santana. After Bonifacio dumped a single into right, Cain hit a hard one-hopper back to the mound. Santana fielded it cleanly, but he threw high and to the left of second baseman James Dozier and into center field. Instead of a potential double play, the Royals had runners on the corners. Hosmer followed with his home run. More >
"I was frustrated because we practice that play a long time in Spring Training," Santana said. "I tried to be too quick because Cain runs well. After that play, I lost my control and I forgot about the game, and started throwing instead of pitching."
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Mike Moustakas' 21st home run tied him for the second most by a Royals hitter before the All-Star break behind Jermaine Dye's 22 in 2000.
The umpires called for a crew-chief review on a possible home run in the third, when Dozier smacked a fly ball down the right-field line that was ruled foul. After a review, the call on the field was ruled to stand, and Dozier ended up grounding out to shortstop.
"I thought ours was fair and theirs was foul," Molitor said. "We feel we have a little better evidence to theirs being foul than ours being fair. I know foul poles are tough, especially when the ball curls around one side or the other."
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-2, 2.98 ERA) will start in the opener of Saturday's day-night doubleheader at 1:15 p.m CT. Fellow right-hander Felix Jorge will make his Major League debut on the mound in the nightcap at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals: Right-hander Luke Farrell will make his Major League debut and start Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader against the Twins on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Right-hander Jason Hammel (4-6, 4.75 ERA) will start the nightcap at 7:35 p.m.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.