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Archive for Sunday, April 18, 2004

Twins topple Royals

K.C. endures fifth straight loss, 8-4

April 18, 2004

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— Henry Blanco understands that he'll go back to Minnesota's bench when Joe Mauer is healthy, no matter how well he's hitting.

Blanco had a two-run double and an RBI single, and Lew Ford added two RBIs to lead the Twins over the Kansas City Royals, 8-4, Saturday for the Twins' fourth straight victory.

"Right now I feel pretty good, and when you get a chance to play anything can happen," Blanco said.

"Everyone knows when Joe comes back it's gonna be his job, and I have no problem with that," Blanco added. "That's what a team is all about."

Blanco is subbing for injured rookie catcher Mauer and has four doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games after driving in just 13 runs in 55 games for Atlanta last season.

"That's just good managing," Ron Gardenhire joked about the success of his backup, "light-hitting" catcher. "But, you never know what happens when a guy gets a chance."

Carlos Beltran homered for the fourth straight game, and Mike Sweeney hit a three-run shot for Kansas City, which has lost five in a row despite setting a club record with 16 homers during that span.

"We're going through a really tough time, and we have to face it and think about what to do," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "We will find a way to pitch better than what we're doing."

Royals' starters in the first 11 games are 0-4 with a 7.79 ERA. Seven times they have allowed at least five earned runs.

Kevin Appier (0-1) was activated off the disabled list to pitch for the first time since Aug. 26, and he struggled. The right-hander, who had surgery in the offseason to repair a flexor tendon tear in his right elbow, lasted just three inning.

He allowed six hits and seven runs-- five earned. He walked three, struck out two and had two wild pitches.

"That was a really horrible day," Appier said.

Kyle Lohse (1-2) allowed six hits and four runs in six innings. He struck out five and walked four. Beltran's fifth homer in four games, and sixth of the year, was a solo shot in the first off Lohse.

The Twins came back with three runs in the second. With one out, Jose Offerman and Jacque Jones hit consecutive singles to put runners at first and third. Ford drove in Offerman with a single, and Blanco followed with a two-run double off Appier.

Kansas City rallied right back on Sweeney's three-run shot in the top of the third. Tony Graffanino started it with a single. One out later, Lohse intentionally walked Beltran to get to Sweeney, whose fourth homer made it 4-3.

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