KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Alex Gordon had a two-run single and Lucas Duda added an RBI single as the Kansas City Royals jumped on Jake Odorizzi in the first inning and beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 Thursday night.
Glenn Sparkman (2-3) gave up just one run and five hits in a season high-tying seven innings.
He walked one and struck out three. Duda, had two hits and scored a run to help the Royals win for the fourth time in five games.
Jake Diekman pitched a perfect eighth and Ian Kennedy got the last three outs for his ninth save in 11 opportunities.
Odorizzi (10-3) came in tied with Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito for the major league lead in wins, but lasted just four innings.
He gave up four runs and eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Jorge Polanco homered with one out in the first to put Minnesota ahead. However, the Royals came right back in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Whit Merrifield doubled and advanced to third on Nicky Lopez’s single to left-center.
Gordon then doubled to deep right-center to drive both runners in. With one out, Cheslor Cuthbert grounded to Odorizzi, who threw to third to get Gordon, but Willians Astudillo’s errant throw to first allowed Cuthbert to advance to third.
Cuthbert then scored on Duda’s single to right that ended his 0-for-20 slump.
The Royals added another run in the fourth. Duda got his second single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Humberto Arteaga, who made his major league debut Thursday. Duda scored on a double by Martin Maldonado.
Twins C Mitch Garver started Thursday’s game but left after the seventh inning with left heel soreness.
OF Byron Buxton is traveling with the club, though he’s not eligible to return from the 10-day injured list until Tuesday.
He went on the IL on Tuesday, retroactive to last Saturday, with a right wrist contusion. Manager Rocco Baldelli said, “Judging by the way that he’s moving around and everything that he’s doing, everything’s going very well.”
Royals 3B Hunter Dozier finished a three-day rehab in Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday.
He’s been on the 10-day injured list since June 3 (retroactive to May 31) with a right oblique strain.
He was expected to return to Kansas City on Thursday for the birth of his child.
He’s expected to head to Triple-A Omaha to continue the rehab through the weekend.
Manager Ned Yost did not have an update on Dozier’s status.
Twins recalled RHP Kohl Stewart from Triple-A Rochester and optioned RHP Sean Poppen to Rochester.
The Twins played 17 innings against Boston on Tuesday.
The Twins are near the end of a 13-day stretch without a day off. They’ll be off June 24 following this four-game series.
Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi was placed on the 10-day IL with what Yost called a “very minor” right groin strain. Yost said it was more precautionary than anything.
He was replaced on the roster by SS Arteaga from Triple-A Omaha. Arteaga, 25, is in his ninth season in the Royals’ system since being signed as a 16-year-old non-drafted free agent in 2010.
Yost said he liked everything about Arteaga’s game. “His defense has always been spectacular for me, wherever I put him – third, short or second,” he said. “He’s developed into a very nice offensive player.”
LHP Martin Perez (7-3, 4.09 ERA) will get the start for Minnesota.
He’ll face Royals RHP Jakob Junis (4-6, 5.33 ERA) in the second game of the four-game series.