Aug 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Josh Willingham (7) celebrates with third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) after scoring runs in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Willingham's Three-Run Double Keys Royals Win

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The Kansas City Royals opened a 1.5 game lead over the Tigers with the Royals 6-5 win over the Twins in Minnesota Friday night. Ex-Twin Josh Willingham‘s double cleared loaded bases in Kansas City’s 5-run 4th inning that broke open the game.

The big inning made a winner of starter Danny Duffy (8-10) and gave the Royals their 3rd straight win.

The victory puts Kansas City 13 games over .500 at 67-54, and opened a 1.5 game lead in the American League Central over Detroit, who lost to the Blue Jays. Kansas City also continues to hold a 1 game edge over Seattle for the 2nd wild card.

On the Mound

Danny Duffy put in a solid, if short outing. Duffy went 5.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 0 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned) with 1 strikeout. He left the game with the Royals leading 5-3 in the 6th.

Aaron Crow allowed 1 hit and got 1 out in the 6th.

Francisley Bueno got the final out of the scoreless 6th inning.

Kelvin Herrera pitched a clean 7th inning with 2 strikeouts.

Wade Davis added a scoreless 8th, though he allowed 1 hit with 1 strikeout.

Greg Holland wobbled but corrected himself to notch his A.L.-leading 37th save. Holland allowed a walk, then a double to Oswaldo Arcia that scored a run when Lorenzo Cain misplayed the ball in RF. Chris Parmalee then ground out to drive in a 2nd run. Overall, Holland gave up 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 runs (1 earned) with 1 strikeout.

At the Plate

The Royals did most of their damage in their 5-run 4th inning, but added an important “insurance run” in 8th that turned out to be the difference in the game.

Trailing 2-0, Josh Willingham slammed a double to clear loaded bases to put Kansas City up 3-2. Willingham went 1 for 4 with the double, 1 run scored, and 3 RBI’s.

Mike Moustakas followed Willingham’s blow with an infield single, and Alcides Escobar picked up both runs with a triple. Escobar’s shallow single in the 8th inning scored Alex Gordon to give KC a 6-3 lead. Escobar went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s on the day.

Alex Gordon and Jarrod Dyson also checked in with 2-hit games. Gordon went 2-3 with 2 runs scored, while Dyson went 2 for 4 along with his 27th stolen base.

This and That

Kansas City is 13 games above .500 for the first time since April 26, 2003.

Despite the best back-end in baseball, the Royals are still only 17-21 in 1-run games—even after you include Friday’s win.

Eric Hosmer‘s x-ray Thursday showed his hand is not healed and he will not have it checked against until after Kansas City returns home from their current 10-game road trip.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

With a nod to Alcides Escobar’s 2-hit, 3 RBI game, our pick goes to Josh Willingham for opening the floodgates on Twins starter Ricky Nolasco with his bases-clearing double into the right field corner.

The Twins

Minnesota catcher Kurt Suzuki didn’t make an out on Friday, going 3 for 3 with 2 singles, a double, 1 walk, and 1 run scored.

Up Next

The Royals continue with the 2nd game of their 4-game set in Minnesota. Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.46 ERA) will pitch for Kansas City against ex-Yankee Phil Hughes  (12-8, 3.88 ERA) for the Twins. Game time is 6:10 PM CST at Target Field in Minnesota.

Box

Royals Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Nori Aoki RF 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .269 .338 .342 .680
   Lorenzo Cain RF 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 .301 .340 .412 .752
Omar Infante 2B 5 0 0 0 0 1 5 .257 .296 .357 .653
Salvador Perez C 5 1 1 0 0 2 5 .267 .304 .413 .717
Billy Butler 1B 4 1 1 0 1 0 5 .277 .325 .384 .709
Alex Gordon LF 3 2 2 0 0 0 4 .280 .356 .432 .788
Josh Willingham DH 4 1 1 3 0 1 4 .210 .341 .399 .740
Mike Moustakas 3B 4 1 2 0 0 0 4 .203 .264 .388 .652
Alcides Escobar SS 4 0 2 3 0 0 4 .277 .313 .372 .685
Jarrod Dyson CF 4 0 2 0 0 0 4 .291 .336 .355 .691
Team Totals 38 6 12 6 1 5 40 .316 .350 .474 .824

2B: S Perez (20, off R Nolasco); J Willingham (7, off R Nolasco).
3B: J Dyson (4, off R Nolasco); A Escobar (4, off R Nolasco).
HBP: A Gordon (8, by R Nolasco).
TB: J Dyson 4; A Escobar 4; J Willingham 2; A Gordon 2; S Perez 2; M Moustakas 2; B Butler; L Cain.
RBI: A Escobar 3 (40); J Willingham 3 (37).
2-out RBI: A Escobar.
Team LOB: 7.
With RISP: 5 for 19.
Fielding
DP: 1. O Infante-A Escobar-B Butler.
E: D Duffy (4); L Cain (2).
Baserunning
SB: J Dyson (27, 2nd base off C Thielbar/K Suzuki); L Cain (18, 2nd base off R Pressly/K Suzuki).

Twins Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Danny Santana CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 5 .325 .363 .475 .838
Brian Dozier 2B 4 0 0 1 0 0 4 .236 .335 .420 .755
Joe Mauer 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 4 .276 .347 .370 .717
Kennys Vargas DH 4 0 1 0 0 1 4 .296 .345 .426 .771
Trevor Plouffe 3B 4 1 1 0 0 0 4 .246 .317 .398 .715
Kurt Suzuki C 3 1 3 0 1 0 4 .307 .367 .395 .762
Oswaldo Arcia RF 4 1 1 1 0 1 4 .228 .304 .418 .722
Eduardo Escobar SS 4 1 1 0 0 1 4 .275 .315 .399 .714
Jordan Schafer LF 3 1 1 0 0 0 3 .189 .271 .245 .516
   Chris Parmelee PH 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 .251 .304 .387 .692
Team Totals 35 5 9 3 1 5 37 .257 .278 .371 .649

2B: K Suzuki (24, off D Duffy); T Plouffe (32, off D Duffy); J Mauer (19, off W Davis); O Arcia (11, off G Holland).
SH: D Santana (2, off D Duffy).
TB: K Suzuki 4; T Plouffe 2; O Arcia 2; J Mauer 2; E Escobar; J Schafer; K Vargas.
GIDP: O Arcia (5).
RBI: O Arcia (30); C Parmelee (22); B Dozier (52).
Team LOB: 5.
With RISP: 1 for 11.
Fielding
DP: 1. J Mauer-E Escobar.

Royals Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Danny Duffy, W (8-10) 5.1 6 3 2 0 1 0 2.60 79 50
Aaron Crow, H (9) 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.00 7 3
Francisley Bueno, H (5) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.49 2 2
Kelvin Herrera, H (13) 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.59 15 10
Wade Davis, H (26) 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.84 18 14
Greg Holland, S (37) 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 1.86 22 12
Team Totals 9 9 5 3 1 5 0 3.00 143 91
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Ricky Nolasco, L (5-8) 6 7 5 5 1 3 0 5.99 81 48
Caleb Thielbar 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.05 7 4
Jared Burton 1.1 1 1 1 0 2 0 4.37 20 14
Brian Duensing 0.1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.28 10 7
Ryan Pressly 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.75 8 6
Team Totals 9 12 6 6 1 5 0 6.00 126 79

Balks: None.
WP: J Burton (1).
HBP: R Nolasco (1; A Gordon).
IBB: None.
Pickoffs: Non

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Tags: Alcides Escobar Danny Duffy Josh Willingham Kansas City Royals

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