The Royals had gotten off to a decent start this year despite some bullpen woes and a complete lack of power early in the year, but they figured a six game road swing against two of the less talented teams in the league could springboard their season. That plan came to a thud on Friday night in Minnesota as the Twins shelled starter Bruce Chen for six runs in the first four innings to knock him out of the game en route to a 10-1 blowout victory.
The Royals got on the board in the first frame with a pair of hits from the (healthy!) Omar Infante and Eric Hosmer, followed by Billy Butler beating out a potential double play ball to score a run. But the Twins score a pair of runs in bottom of the inning on a pair of hits just an inch or two away from being an out. Chris Colabello dribbled a grounder just past a diving Alcides Escobar to plate the first run, while Jason Kubel lifted a flyball to right that Nori Aoki seemed to mis-time when leaping against the fence, allowing a triple to score another run.
Chen left little doubt in the fourth however, hanging a fat pitch for Josmil Pinto to deposit into the left field seats. Chen labored to finish hitters off, and was pulled after just 3 2/3 innings and 87 pitches. Louis Coleman made his season debut and showed his rust, walking a batter and tossing two wild pitches in just over an inning of work. By the time the dust had settled, the Royals found themselves in a seemingly insurmountable 7-1 deficit.
Royals hitters did little against Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who had a 6.11 ERA in 11 career MLB starts coming into tonight. Gibson worked into the seventh, allowing just five hits and the one first inning run. On the plus side, Mike Moustakas had a breakout game, slamming a double, and collecting his first two-hit game of the year. The corner has been turned! We also saw the Major League debut of Michael Mariot, which you can tell your grandkids about.
There's no reason we can't win five of the next five. But we have to play a lot better than this. Play us off, Minnesota natives, and underrated 90s indie band Semisonic.