Hughes strong, Suzuki homers as Twins top Kansas City

Kurt Suzuki stepped up to save Phil Hughes’ strong start after a costly error.

Let’s get the Kurt Suzuki lowlight out of the way.

The Royals’ Nori Aoki took off for third base in the fourth inning on Saturday. Suzuki turned and threw to third — but the ball ended up rolling to Chris Parmelee in left.

A wild throw, and then some. Aoki was able to score on the wild throw, the first run of the game at a point when Royals righthander Yordano Ventura was blowing by Twins hitters.

“The hardest part is that Phil [Hughes] was throwing so good and for me to do something like that that was something that ticked me off a little bit,” Suzuki said. “He was pitching his tail off and for me to mess it up, I wanted to go out there and try to redeem myself.”

What followed were All-Star moments from the All-Star catcher as the Twins eventually turned back Ventura and the Royals 4-1 in front of an announced crowd of 35,575 at Target Field. Glen Perkins earned his 31st save as the Twins cut the Royals’ lead over Detroit in the AL Central to one-half game.

The Twins crafted a three-run seventh inning, beginning with a single by Suzuki and bunt single by Parmelee, who smartly took advantage of Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas playing back at third. With two strikes, Jordan Schafer bunted the runners over.

With Suzuki at third, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire put on the contact play. “Which I don’t like to do very often,” Gardenhire said. “Limited players [on the bench] and that’s my catcher.”

Danny Santana dribbled a grounder to first base, and Suzuki took off. The Royals’ Billy Butler threw home. The ball beat Suzuki, but Suzuki lifted his left arm to avoid the tag attempt by catcher Salvador Perez, then slammed it on the plate to tie the score.

“That was the slide of the year,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said.

Dozier followed with a double, scoring pinch runner Eduardo Escobar for a 2-1 Twins lead. Kennys Vargas followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in Santana and made it 3-1.

It was massive turnaround because Ventura, whose fastest pitch hit 99 miles per hour on the Target Field radar gun, entered the inning with a one-hitter. It was mostly fastballs and changeups with the occasional wayward curveball, but it was enough to stymie the Twins for two-thirds of the game.

Hughes was trailing entering the seventh but looked like a pitcher with a one-hitter himself.

He threw six pitches in the first, 10 in the second and seven in the third. He gave up a hit but faced the minimum over three innings. Over 7⅓ innings, Hughes (13-8) held the Royals to one run on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts, winning his third consecutive start.

Ventura (9-9) gave up three runs over 6⅔ innings on four hits and six walks while striking out six.

Until the seventh, it looked like Hughes and the Twins would be doomed because of one errant Suzuki throw.

But after the three-run seventh, Suzuki added a home run in the eighth, only this third of the year. As he arrived at the dugout after the homer, Gardenhire held out his arms and yelled, “Where did that come from?”

Suzuki said he wanted to smile as he rounded the bases.

“I probably won’t hit another home run the rest of my season here,” Suzuki said. “Especially at home.”


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question