MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nelson Cruz homered twice, continuing his climb up the all-time leaderboard, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Monday night.
Devin Smeltzer (2-0) picked up the win in relief of opener Matt Wisler for Minnesota. Smeltzer allowed one hit in 2 2/3 innings while striking out three batters. The Twins won three of four games in the series after being swept by the Royals in Kansas City last week.
Rookie Kris Bubic (0-3) surrendered two runs on four hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings for the Royals. Hunter Dozier homered in the ninth inning to end Minnesota’s shutout bid.
Cruz supplied all the offense the Twins needed while continuing his assault on Kansas City pitching and the record books.
The 40-year-old slugger led off the fourth inning with a line drive that hit the facing of the second deck in left field. In the seventh, he connected for his eighth of the season into the bullpens in left-center field.
Cruz surpassed Duke Snider and tied Mark Teixeira with his 409th career homer, good for 55th all-time.
In his past 16 games against the Royals, Cruz is hitting .482 with 13 home runs and 26 RBIs.
Bubic had held up in his first two major league starts this season, but he’s now allowed seven runs over 9 1/3 in his past two starts.
Royals: C Salvador Pérez returned to the lineup after missing a game with blurry vision in his left eye. Pérez met with an eye specialist on Monday morning and Matheny said a small pocket of fluid was found in the eye. Pérez was told he could keep playing with no risk and the spot will eventually dissipate. He was replaced at catcher by Meibrys Viloria after his at-bat in the sixth.
Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson has shown steady improvement with his right calf strain, according to the team. Donaldson did machine cardio work on Monday, took ground balls and has continued to take batting practice and work in the batting cage. The team said Donaldson feels good and is without issue. … Manager Rocco Baldelli said that LHP Rich Hill is likely to pitch in the upcoming series against Milwaukee and the team hasn’t announced a starter for Wednesday, but Baldelli was cautious to state outright that Hill would start that game. Hill has been out since Aug. 31 with left shoulder fatigue.
Royals: Kansas City returns home for two games against Cincinnati, which had its weekend series postponed after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Royals manager Mike Matheny said before Monday’s game that the expectation is the series is still on as scheduled. RHP Brad Keller (2-0, 0.00 ERA) is slated to start Tuesday’s game for Kansas City. He’s thrown 11 scoreless innings in two starts this season.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (3-0, 2.66) will start the first game of a three-game home series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Maeda has allowed more than two runs just once in four starts this season. The Brewers are scheduled to start RHP Corbin Burnes (0-0, 3.38).
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