KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nori Aoki drove in the go-ahead run during a six-run eighth inning Wednesday night, sending the Kansas City Royals to a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Billy Butler and Salvador Perez each drove in a pair of runs during the surge, which came after the Twins’ Phil Hughes (14-9) had stymied the Royals for the first seven innings.
Wade Davis (8-2) pitched a perfect eighth to earn his second straight win, and All-Star closer Greg Holland worked around a single in the ninth to cap a second straight late-game win.
The Royals extended their lead over Detroit to 2 1/2 games in the AL Central with their 11th win in their past 13 games at Kauffman Stadium. They’ve won four straight over the Twins.
Minnesota has lost four straight and eight of 11 overall.
In the series opener, the Royals were getting shut out until the ninth inning, when Alex Gordon delivered a two-run homer for a 2-1 win. This time, it was a series of bloopers and infield singles that allowed Kansas City to finally crack the Twins in the waning innings.
Raul Ibanez led off the eighth with a blooper to right, and Mike Moustakas beat out an infield hit with a dive to first base. Two batters later, Jarrod Dyson laid down a perfect bunt down the first-base line, and pinch runner Lorenzo Cain slid home with the tying run.
Aoki followed with a slicing single to left field to give the Royals the lead, and Butler and Perez added four more runs with two well-timed hits to provide plenty of cushion.
Until then, the game had been an entertaining duel between Hughes, who had won his last four starts, and Liam Hendriks, a former Twins pitcher making his Royals debut.
Hughes gave up singles in each of the first two innings before finding his groove, allowing one other baserunner until his fateful eighth. Hendriks retired the first 14 batters he faced, and never ran into trouble until Kennys Vargas singled with one out in the seventh.
Oswaldo Arcia followed with a double off the wall to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Hendriks, making a spot start for ailing Yordano Ventura, finished out the inning without any more damage. The Australian wound up allowing four hits while striking out five without a walk.
Twins: Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco was feeling better after gutting through a bout with the flu the previous night. Nolasco scattered three hits over seven innings in a no decision.
Royals: 2B Omar Infante (shoulder inflammation) could return to the starting lineup Friday, manager Ned Yost said. Christian Colon started in his place for the second straight night.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone makes his third start since arriving in Minnesota. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings against Detroit his last time out.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie allowed one run over eight innings his last time out in Texas. He faced the Twins 10 days ago at Target Field, lasting seven innings in a 12-6 win.