MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Phil Hughes threw seven sharp innings, Kurt Suzuki hit his third homer of the season and the Minnesota Twins beat first-place Kansas City 4-1 on Saturday night to snap the Royals’ three-game winning streak.
Hughes (13-8) allowed one run, seven hits and struck out six to outlast hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura (9-9), who threw six innings of one-hit ball before the Twins broke through in the seventh.
With runners on second and third, Ventura threw a 99-mph fastball that shattered Danny Santana’s bat — but Santana reached base when Billy Butler tried to throw out Suzuki at home. Catcher Salvador Perez’s tag was late, allowing the Twins to tie it.
Brian Dozier followed with his 25th double of the season to score pinch-runner Eduardo Escobar and put the Twins ahead for good. Kennys Vargas chased Ventura two batters later with a sacrifice fly to score Santana and give Minnesota a two-run lead.
Hughes has won three in a row after losing three straight starts. He also has allowed only three runs this month. Casey Fien pitched to two batters in the eighth and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for this 31st save in 34 chances.
Suzuki’s solo homer in the eighth off Aaron Crow was his first since May 20, a span of 217 at-bats.
Ventura had otherwise dominated Minnesota’s lineup with his power, consistently hitting into the upper-90s throughout the evening. He struggled with his command, though, walking a season-high six batters and getting called for a balk in the third inning.
Nori Aoki scored Kansas City’s lone run after stealing third in the fourth inning. Suzuki’s throw from home sailed into left field, allowing Aoki to score easily.
Twins: A week after severely spraining his right ankle, RHP Anthony Swarzak appears to be fine and has avoided the disabled list. “He came and did everything out in the pen yesterday, actually simulated running off the mound going to first base. He’s fine,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie (8-10) will pitch Sunday against Tommy Milone (6-3) in the third of this four-game series. Guthrie will try to bounce back from his previous start when he allowed six runs — four earned — against Oakland on Tuesday as the A’s snapped the Royals’ eight-game winning streak. Milone makes his second start for the Twins since being acquired from Oakland last month.
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