Kansas City, Mo. Milestones and historic firsts just keep piling up for both the happy Minnesota Twins and the battered Kansas City Royals.
Danny Valencia became the first Twins rookie ever to have four hits in back-to-back games, equaling Monday’s feat in an 11-2 victory Tuesday night. The night before in an even worse 19-1 drubbing, he’d become the first Twins rookie to smack a grand slam for his first major-league homer.
Altogether, the surging Twins also hit double-digits in runs for a third straight game for the first time since June 11-13, 1967.
But on the other side of the baseball diamond, the Royals are in a horrible slump. Before the two lopsided losses to Minnesota, the Royals were beaten 12-6 on Sunday by the New York Yankees. Never in their history had they allowed this many runs (42) and hits (53) in three consecutive games.
“We need to do something,” said Bruce Chen, who gave up 11 of the Twins’ 19 hits and six of their 11 runs. “We need to do something soon.”
Valencia had three RBIs and Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and J.J. Hardy all had two as the Twins totaled 19 hits one night after getting 20. The Twins have won six of seven, and over their past four games against Baltimore and Kansas City have rung up 47 runs on a whopping 72 hits.
Perhaps no one appreciates the way Minnesota hitters are tearing it up more than Minnesota pitchers.
“It’s amazing,” said Carl Pavano (13-6), who went five innings and gave up five hits and one run while winning a career-best eighth consecutive decision. “Just watching the at-bats and watching the guys who are stepping up. You’ve got the usual guys who get their knocks every night. But then you’ve got these younger guys who are having big days.”
Valencia, the rookie third baseman who was 4 for 4 with a grand slam Monday night, had two singles and a double in his first three trips to the plate against Chen (5-5) but took a called third strike from Robinson Tejeda in the seventh.
“That was a bad at-bat,” Valencia said. “But he made some good pitches. You can’t get a hit every time.”
Until then, he had nine hits in 10 at-bats going back to Sunday in Baltimore. Then, facing Victor Marte in the eighth, he had an RBI single, making him 4-for-5 with three singles and a double.
“This is rare. It’s definitely rare,” he said. “It’s great to have, but it’s something that probably could never come again. It’s been a great time for me and it’s been a great time for the team. We’ve been winning, and you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
According to Royals manager Ned Yost, there is nothing mysterious about the collapse of the pitching.
“The problem that we’re running into is we’re throwing too many pitches. We’re not commanding the ball down in the zone,” he said. “We’re not making quality pitches.”