Young shines in Royals' 2-0 win over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As ugly as the numbers looked for Chris Young over his previous two starts, the big right-hander felt he was just a couple of pitches away in each of those from breaking through.
He was probably only one pitch away from doing something really special against the Minnesota Twins.
Young took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Salvador Perez homered to help the Kansas City Royals to a 2-0 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night.
''He was sharp tonight,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''Had that little hop on his fastball. Had that disappearing slider. Mixed in some great change-ups. ... He just threw the ball extremely well.''
Young (5-2) left after giving up a triple to Trevor Plouffe with one out in the seventh for his only hit of the game. The 6-foot-10 right-hander struck out two and walked three to bounce back from a pair of ugly starts and put the Royals in a position to sweep the Twins on Wednesday.
Trevor May (4-4) gave up one run on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks in six innings for the Twins, who managed just the one hit and have scored five runs in their last four games.
On a night when San Francisco's Chris Heston no-hit the Mets, Young looked prime to equal him as he carved up the slumping Twins lineup through six innings.
He faced the minimum number of batters through five innings, walked two in the sixth and finally yielded when Plouffe just missed an opposite field homer that bounced high off the big wall in right field.
Royals manager Ned Yost immediately pulled him, turning things over to the American League's best bullpen to finish of Kansas City's third straight victory. Franklin Morales and Kelvin Herrera kept Plouffe stranded at third and Greg Holland picked up his 11th save in 12 chances.
It should come as no surprise that Young didn't let a couple of shaky starts get him down. He started this season with the Royals with wins in his first three starts, but had given up 10 earned runs over his previous two against the Yankees and Indians.
''You can say I pitched better than my results, but at some point the results have to match,'' Young said.
That was nothing compared to what he overcame just to stay in the big leagues. Young broke in with the Rangers in 2004 and also pitched for the Padres and Mariners. But his career was in jeopardy in 2013 after he had surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve disorder that gave him chronic pain in his shoulder and neck.
He recovered and went 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA for the Mariners last year to earn AL comeback player of the year honors before signing with the AL champions in March.
He got all the help he would need against the Twins in the first inning when Alcides Escobar led off the game with a double and scored on a single from Mike Moustakas. Perez added his ninth homer of the season in the ninth.
The Royals (33-23) can complete the three-game sweep of the Twins (33-25), who have fallen behind AL Central-leading Kansas City, on Wednesday.
Young was also the beneficiary of some stellar defense behind him, including a leaping grab at the left field wall by Alex Gordon.
After he left, Escobar also made a great play deep in the hole at shortstop and Eric Hosmer made a big scoop at first base to get the speedy Eddie Rosario to end the seventh inning.
''Those guys are unbelievable,'' Young said. ''Every night they make unbelievable plays and they almost make them so easily that you take them for granted.''
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who has been on the disabled list since May 17 with left biceps tendinitis, was scheduled to return to the mound on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha.
The Royals send RHP Edinson Volquez (4-4, 3.26) to the mound in the series finale to face RHP Kyle Gibson (4-3, 3.00). Volquez is 0-2 with a 4.13 ERA on the road this season. Gibson has given up a combined four earned runs on 13 hits in his two starts against Kansas City this season. He is 1-1 in those starts.