Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa blasted back-to-back homers in the fourth inning to help the Minnesota Twins pick up a convincing 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series in Minneapolis.
Buxton cranked a three-run blast to center and Correa followed with a solo shot to break the game open by putting Minnesota up by six. Brock Stewart, Jovani Moran and Jhoan Duran went on to combine for five innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to lock down the victory.
Stewart (1-0) was credited with the win after taking over for Tyler Mahle, who exited the game after four innings due to elbow soreness. He threw just 66 pitches, allowing one run on two hits while fanning six without a walk.
Max Kepler had a double among his two hits for the Twins, who have won four of their last five.
Vinnie Pasquantino homered and Kyle Isbel doubled for Kansas City, which has dropped 11 of its last 13 games.
Minnesota jumped out to an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first when Correa drew a one-out walk and later scored on Trevor Larnach’s RBI single.
Kepler had a run-scoring single of his own and Michael A. Taylor’s fielder’s choice brought home Christian Vazquez an inning later, making it 3-0.
Kansas City got a run back in the top of the fourth when Pasquantino ripped a 419-foot solo shot to right. It was his fifth homer of the season. But Buxton and Correa went deep in the home half of the frame to make it 7-1, and the Twins cruised from there.
The back-to-back blasts chased Royals starter Zack Greinke (0-4), who labored across 3⅔ innings. He gave up seven runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three.
Kansas City’s bullpen stopped the bleeding, though, with Carlos Hernandez supplying 2⅓ innings of scoreless relief before Josh Staumont and Jose Cuas each worked a shutout inning.
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