Hosmer drives in 3, Volquez tough as Royals beat Twins 4-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) After watching the Royals lose four straight, Edinson Volquez was so focused on helping them out of their funk that the starting pitcher forgot something rather important.
''Tickets for my wife,'' he said with a grin.
Good thing he remembered while warming in the bullpen. She got to watch Volquez bounce back from a lousy start to go seven sharp innings in a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double and Kendrys Morales added an RBI double in the first inning, and that was all Volquez (13-7) and the Kansas City bullpen needed. Wade Davis pitched a perfect eighth inning and Greg Holland tossed a flawless ninth for his 30th save.
The only runs Volquez allowed were consecutive RBI hits by Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer.
''I thought he was great,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''His last start he was out of whack, all over the place. He was much more mechanically sound tonight.''
Kyle Gibson (9-10) recovered from a brutal start to last eight innings for his first career complete game, but the Twins' offense was unable to bail him out. Gibson's first six batters reached, and Hosmer and Morales staked Kansas City to an early 4-0 lead.
''You can lose it in the first, but you can't win it in the first. Those are situations that kind of speed up on you,'' Gibson said. ''I'm trying not to get too emotionally up in what happened, just take it one batter at a time and move on.''
The streaking Twins, who began the day just 1 1/2 games back of Texas for the final AL wild card, tried to mount a comeback after the Royals took their early lead.
Byron Buxton singled with one out in the third, later scoring on Dozier's base hit, and Mauer followed with an RBI double to make it 4-2. But using some veteran guile, Volquez managed to get Trevor Plouffe to ground out and preserve his lead.
Plouffe also grounded into inning-ending double plays in the first and sixth, as the Twins failed to get a runner to second base the rest of the night.
Kansas City was suddenly having a similarly difficult time against Gibson, who allowed only two hits after his disastrous first inning. Both of them were to Alex Gordon, a two-out double in the second and a single in the fifth.
''I think that's the first time I've been attacked like that,'' Gibson said of the first inning. ''Most teams come out taking, seeing if my sinker is going to stay in the zone.''
Gibson allowed six hits and walked two while throwing 101 pitches.
''This guy has arguably one of the best two-seamers in the league, and it wasn't there in the first inning,'' Yost said. ''It was there in the second inning through the eighth.''
Royals pitcher Danny Duffy chose the postgame music in their clubhouse. First up was Frank Sinatra crooning, ''Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,'' which got a thumbs down from Volquez - ''This is bad,'' he said. Jose Feliciano's ''Feliz Navidad'' got better reviews.
STATS AND STREAKS
The attendance was 31,384, which means the Royals need just 3,074 fans to break the franchise's single-season record Wednesday night. They still have six home dates after that. ... Hosmer has a career-best 81 RBIs. His previous high was 79 in 2013. ... Gordon is 9 for 18 since returning from the disabled list. He had been out with a groin injury.
Twins: LHP Glen Perkins (back) is considering a second injection after seeing a spinal specialist in the Twin Cities, manager Paul Molitor said. He last pitched Sept. 1. ... RHP Phil Hughes (back) will throw a 45-pitch simulated game Wednesday.
Royals: Yost bristled when asked whether RHP Johnny Cueto was healthy after another poor start. ''How many times am I going to answer this?'' Yost asked. ''He's absolutely fine. ... I'm not worried about Johnny. He's completely healthy.''
Twins: RHP Mike Pelfrey gave up seven runs in four innings his last start at Houston.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen gave up seven runs in 5 2-3 innings his last start vs the White Sox.