KANSAS CITY, MO. - Kevin Correia pitched seven scoreless innings Monday, but it wasn't enough. Kansas City pounced on the Twins' righthander with three runs in the eighth inning, and celebrated the 40th birthday of Kauffman Stadium with a 3-1 victory over the Twins.
Correia, who signed a two-year contract with Minnesota last November, limited the Royals to just five hits over the first seven innings, getting 14 of the 21 outs on ground balls. But he couldn't stop the top of Kansas City's lineup a fourth time through.
With the Twins leading 1-0, Lorenzo Cain led off the eighth with a double off Correia, the first extra-base hit he had allowed in his two starts for Minnesota. Chris Getz followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Cain to third, bringing the top of the order to the plate.
The Twins drew their infield in, and Alex Gordon took advantage, punching a soft liner over Brian Dozier's head and into right field, bringing home the tying run. And when Gordon took off for second on a hit-and-run, shortstop Alcides Escobar drove a Correia fastball into the right-field corner, and Gordon scored the go-ahead run from first base.
Jared Burton relieved Correia, now 0-1, and was greeted by a single to right that scored Escobar with an insurance run.
The Twins, who have averaged 4.7 runs per game this season, looked ready for a big run-scoring day in the first inning, stringing together four hits off Royals starter Ervin Santana. But the rally produced only one run, because of some confusion on the basepaths.
With two outs, Ryan Doumit singled home Joe Mauer with the game's first run. Trevor Plouffe followed with the inning's fourth single, a sharply hit line drive to left field -- so sharply hit, in fact, that Gordon had the ball back in quickly and Justin Morneau was held at third base. Trouble was, Doumit rounded second base too far, and when Morneau held up, he was easily tagged out trying to get back to second.
The abrupt end to the first-inning rally looked a lot bigger when the Twins repeatedly failed to ignite another one. Santana was brilliant from that point on, and no Twin ever reached third base again. Santana allowed four hits in the first inning, and four more over the next seven innings.
Aaron Hicks, who snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a run-scoring single on Sunday, went 0-for-4 against Santana and now stands at 2-for-30 for the first seven games of his career, with two walks and 13 strikeouts.