Kansas City, Mo. Kila Ka’aihue had yet to show his power potential for the Royals.
The first two innings against Minnesota changed all that.
Ka’aihue hit two home runs and drove in a career-high four runs to lead Kansas City to a 10-1 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night.
“That’s what he is capable of doing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “When he steps into that box he’s going to make opposing pitchers a bit nervous.”
The Twins have dropped a season-high five straight since clinching the AL Central title on Sept. 21.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of panic in here,” Twins starter Nick Blackburn said. “I think we’ll be fine. This team’s a pretty good, calm group. I’m really not concerned about what happened tonight. I’m not happy about it, but I’m really not concerned about it. As long as I’m sharp next outing and take some confidence into it I’ll be fine.”
Ka’aihue hit a three-run homer in the first off Blackburn (10-11), then led off the second with his seventh home run of the season. It was his first career multihomer game.
He almost had a third one in the seventh, sending a drive off the right-field bullpen fence for his first big league triple.
“It was a crazy night,” Ka’aihue said. “It was just one of those nights, a real good night. “I think when I first got here, I was trying to do things I wasn’t capable of doing. Now I’m just trying to play my style of baseball. Ned had been talking to me about it and encouraging me. Hopefully, this continues.”
Sean O’Sullivan (4-6) held the Twins to one run on five hits and six walks in six-plus innings.
Blackburn gave up eight runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 1⁄3 innings. He also balked home Mike Aviles, who led off the fifth with a triple for his third hit.
“I couldn’t execute my pitches and locate,” Blackburn said. “It was the worst I’ve had in a long time. I came in and watched some film and the mechanics were pretty good. I was missing spots and just wasn’t getting my pitches where I wanted them to.”