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Willingham, Twins End Six-Game Skid, Beat Royals

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Josh Willingham had three hits and came a homer away from hitting for the cycle to help the Minnesota Twins snap their six-game losing streak by beating the Kansas City Royals 7-4 Sunday.

Jason Marquis (2-0) threw six strong innings for Minnesota, who also got three hits and a pair of RBIs from Danny Valencia.

Bruce Chen (0-3) had his worst outing of the season, giving up six runs on six hits in only 2 2-3 innings for the Royals, whose three-game winning streak ended. It was Chen’s shortest outing since lasting 3 1-3 innings on July 9, 2010.

Willingham drove in two runs in his first game back from the paternity list following the birth of his son last week. He helped the Twins get to Chen early with a two-run triple in the first.

Chen had pitched well in his previous four starts but was out of sorts from the get-go Sunday, allowing Minnesota’s first four batters to reach base. Valencia’s first-inning single scored Willingham to make it 4-0.

After a 1-2-3 second, the Twins got to Chen again in the third with Willingham’s leadoff double, and Valencia followed two batters later with an RBI triple. A sacrifice fly by Ryan Doumit put the Twins up 6-1, and Royals manager Ned Yost yanked Chen after he walked Trevor Plouffe.

Mike Moustakas homered in the second and added an RBI single in the fourth for the Royals. Eric Hosmer also drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the fourth.

Doumit had an RBI double in the seventh for the Twins. Jared Burton and Glen Perkins each provided an inning of scoreless relief. Matt Capps allowed an RBI-single by Alcides Escobar in the ninth.

NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire slightly altered his rotation to give starters Liam Hendriks and Carl Pavano some extra time off. Hendriks will start Wednesday in Anaheim and Pavano will go Friday at Seattle after a day off between series. … Sunday was “Ben Revere Bat Day” at Target Field, but Revere was optioned to Triple-A Rochester earlier in the week to make room for Willingham on the roster. “Right now we need him to get at bats. Up here sitting on the bench you could see his mojo going down a little bit on the bench, not knowing when he’s going to play. Normally this kid’s laughing all the time,” Gardenhire said. “He’ll be back.” … The Royals juggled their starting rotation and will send right-hander Luke Hochevar to the mound for their series opener at Detroit on Monday against Tigers lefty Duane Below. Jonathan Sanchez had been scheduled to start Monday but came down with flu-like symptoms in Minneapolis. He’ll start Tuesday instead. The Twins, meanwhile, begin a three-game series in Anaheim, where Nick Blackburn will take his 0-2 record against the Angels’ C.J. Wilson, who is 2-2.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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