Minneapolis While Kansas City’s young relievers once again gave the Royals a chance to win. It was a veteran who couldn’t make a pitch when it was most needed.
Danny Valencia hit a bases-loaded single with one out in the 10th inning to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Royals on Tuesday.
While the Twins’ bullpen pitched four perfect innings, including the 10th by Dusty Hughes (1-0), reliever Robinson Tejeda struggled for the Royals.
“So far this year he’s had the ability to make a big pitch when he’s needed to and he just couldn’t make it tonight,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Tejeda (0-1) gave up a one-out single to Delmon Young and walked Michael Cuddyer. Then came Jason Kubel, who crushed a pitch to right-center where Jeff Francoeur nearly made a nifty running catch with his glove outstretched and his body bent awkwardly at the wall. Francoeur dropped it after crashing into the wall, though, giving Kubel a really long single and loading the bases for Valencia.
Francoeur thought it was a home run off the bat. So did Tejeda.
“For me I don’t care how far you have to go. Once it’s in my glove it’s in my glove,” Francoeur said. “That’s what was frustrating for me. I have to make that play once it’s in my glove.”
Royals starter Jeff Francis got his third straight no-decision, allowing three runs in seven innings and retiring 12 of his last 13 batters. Francis has a 2.61 ERA this season.
“I thought Francis threw the ball really well again. We’re just not getting the help for him,” Yost said. “I thought he pitched great.”
Rookie relievers Aaron Crow and Tim Collins were impressive. Crow worked a scoreless eighth and Collins got Joe Mauer to fly out with runners on first and third to end the ninth.