Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Royals have been playing more than their share of close games, with 60 of their first 108 games decided by one or two runs.
That was not the case Monday night.
Jeremy Guthrie pitched a four-hitter, and Eric Hosmer drove in a career-high five runs to help the Royals rout the Minnesota Twins 13-0 on Monday night.
The Royals, who have won 12 of their past 13 games, scored a season-high 13 runs.
“Quite frankly, tonight was probably the least stressful game that we’ve played all year long,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was literally a stress-free game. It was a combination of good pitching, solid defense and great hitting. Jeremy made it look easy. Six runs in the second was huge. That’s a big cushion right there.”
Guthrie (12-7) won his fourth straight start to log his 12th victory, which is a career high. It was his second career shutout and he lowered his earned run average to 3.94.
The right-hander retired the final 13 batters, did not allow a Twins runner to reach third base and only two touched second base. He struck out seven and walked one.
“Unfortunately I’ve had big leads and have not pitched as well,” Guthrie said. “So I probably stayed focused. Runs can really pile up in a hurry, so even with a 6-to-nothing lead, I felt though I was pitching with a two- or three-run lead, trying to avoid a leadoff hit and a drive because this team the guys can drive it. They’ve got some hitters throughout that can do damage if you lose focus.”
The Royals sent 11 men to the plate in a six-run second inning, which was highlighted by Mike Moustakas and Hosmer stroking two-run singles. Moustakas collected two hits in the inning.
“They both feel very, very confident when the walk to the plate now,” Yost said. “It’s evident when you see them up there. They’re stepping into the box with a lot of confidence. They feel good about themselves. Both of those kids have worked very hard to get back to where they’re at right now.
“Moose is up to .234 from .175 two months ago. That’s a big climb back. I’m happy to see it for him.”
The inning, also, included Lorenzo Cain walking with the bases loaded and a Billy Butler run-producing single.
Hosmer hit his 12th home run, 11 of them after June 13, in the sixth with Jarrod Dyson and Cain aboard.
Moustakas, who had two hits in the second inning, went 4-for-5, matching his career high for hits.
“I don’t think we need to spend a lot of time talking about this one,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Kevin Correia (7-8) was pulled after two innings and 16 batters faced, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks. Correia has been rocked lately, not lasting more than two innings in two of his past three starts. He has given up 14 runs and 24 hits in just 9 2-3 innings. It got so bad that infielder Jamey Carroll pitched the eighth for the Twins, his first career big league outing on the mound. He retired the Royals in order.
“I got out pitched by a 38-year-old (actually 39) middle infielder,” Correia said. “That’s never good. I was just not able to get anybody out. I don’t think I’ve every started a game where a position player pitched. I just didn’t have good command of my stuff tonight. I didn’t really have it, my location. They were swinging early and jumped on some first-pitch strikes. You can always figure it out but it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Notes: Royals 2B Miguel Tejada went 0-for-3 with a walk to snap his season-high eight-game hitting streak. ... Royals OF David Lough was held of the lineup with soreness in his left quadriceps after leaving the game Sunday with the injury. ... Royals RHP Wade Davis, who is on the family emergency leave list, is still penciled in as the Wednesday starter, but that could change with the death of his step-brother. ... Twins OF Josh Willingham, who had left knee surgery on July 3, began a minor league rehab assignment Monday with Class AAA Rochester, going 0-for-3.