Minneapolis Last in the American League in home runs, the Kansas City Royals connected twice Sunday at the most opportune times.
David Lough hit three doubles, then launched a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning that led the Royals over the Minnesota Twins 9-8.
Lough hit his second homer of the season, sending a solo drive off Jared Burton (1-5) into the right-field seats for an 8-7 lead.
Eric Hosmer added a solo homer in the ninth for the Royals. Johnny Giavotella had three hits.
“We’re just trying to find ways to score runs, and if that comes from the home run or through small ball, we honestly don’t care,” Hosmer said.
The Royals have just 49 homers this year, 24 fewer than the next-closest team in the league: Minnesota.
Hosmer and Alex Gordon have seven home runs, Billy Butler has six and Mike Moustakas five. The quartet combined for 77 last season.
“They’ve got some hitters over there. Those guys can swing the bats. I know they haven’t been consistent doing it, but they’ve got some good young hitters who can pop a baseball,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Aaron Crow (5-3) pitched 12⁄3 scoreless innings for the Royals. Greg Holland got his 17th save in 19 chances despite giving up a home run to Trevor Plouffe in the ninth.
Minnesota, which trailed 5-1 after four innings, got a two-run homer from Justin Morneau and an RBI double by pinch-hitter Josh Willingham to tie it at 7 in the seventh.
Ervin Santana allowed three earned runs and five hits in six innings for Kansas City. He has gone at least six innings in each of his 16 starts this season, the longest active streak in majors.
It was been a strong June for the right-hander. In six starts, he has a 1.99 ERA, limiting opponents to 27 hits and two home runs in 402⁄3 innings. He struck out four, but also had a season-high four walks.
The Royals led 5-4 when Lough, the Royals’ eighth-place hitter, doubled in the sixth off reliever Ryan Pressly and took third as Giavotella blooped a double to left-center between three fielders. Gordon was walked to intentionally load the bases before Alcides Escobar hit a two-run single.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a day like this, not even in the minor leagues,” Lough said. “It was one of those games where our offense was going to have to put together some runs.”
This was just the fourth time in 12 games that the Royals scored more than three runs.
“We’ve never lost confidence as an offense,” Hosmer said. “We always knew we had the potential to put up days like this.”
Kevin Correia, the Twins’ most consistent starter, gave up five earned runs in five innings.
The Royals scored three times in the fourth. Lough hit an RBI double off the right-field wall and Giavotella had an RBI single for a 5-1 lead. Giavotella was recalled Saturday from Triple-A Omaha when the Royals designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment.
“They had a lot of hits today, between me and the bullpen, that weren’t well struck but got in spots to keep a rally going or get on base and start a rally,” Correia said. “It’s just one of those games. We scored eight runs. That should be enough to win the game.”
Clete Thomas homered in the Minnesota fifth.
Notes: Morneau is hitting .354 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 24 RBIs in his last 25 home games. ... Butler was 2-for-4, and is hitting .486 (17 for 35) against the Twins this year. ... Joe Mauer went 0-for-5 as his hitless streak extended to 16 at-bats. ... Kansas City committed two errors in a game for the first time since June 2. ... Luis Mendoza (2-4, 4.16) is set to start for Kansas City on Tuesday when it opens a six-game homestand against Cleveland. Corey Kluber (6-5, 4.16) is to start for the Indians.