Phil Hughes is a very good pitcher, easily the best Minnesota has to offer, and he showed it tonight, shutting down the Royals in a 4-1 Twins victory. Hughes lasted seven innings giving up just one run on seven hits without walking a hitter as he picked up his thirteenth victory.
The Royals jumped on the board first in the fourth inning on one of those fluky gift runs that they've gotten a ton of since they began their run. Nori Aoki led off the inning with a double, one of his two hits on the night as he continues his torrid pace. Aoki attempted to steal third and when catcher Kurt Suzuki made an errant throw to try to catch him, Aoki was able to score on the misplay to make it 1-0 Kansas City.
However, that would be all the offense the Royals would muster all night, as they collected just four measly singles after that inning. Lorenzo Cain in particular had an awful night, going 0-4 with three strikeouts and three left on base. Alex Gordon and Raul Ibanez were the only other Royals able to collect two hits on the night and not a single Royals hitter drew a free pass all night. Twins pitchers struck out nine.
Yordano Ventura, for his part, pitched well enough for the win. He got in some jams throughout the game, but tossed six scoreless frames to begin the game. His luck ran out in the seventh when the Twins went on a bunt-bonanza. Kurt Suzuki led off with a single followed by a Chris Parmelee bunt single. Jordan Schafer sacrificed them over, and the Twins tied it on a ground out when Kurt Suzuki was able to avoid Salvador Perez's tag on a play at the plate. Brian Dozier doubled to give the Twins the 2-1 lead they would not relinquish. Ventura would end up giving up three runs in the frame, leaving after 6 2/3 innings and tying a season high with six walks. Kurt Suzuki would add a solo home run in the eighth off Aaron Crow, but it wasn't needed with the Royals feeble offense tonight.
We knew the offense was still a weakness, and the Royals are still going to have nights like this. The good thing is, at least it came against a very good pitcher and not Cy Schmo. With the Tigers winning, just a half game separates the two teams, so its imperative the Royals get the offense right again tomorrow night.