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The Sports Xchange, Published April 19 2014

Royals top Twins for their fifth straight win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals put five runs on the board in the fourth inning and that proved to be enough as the Royals extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.

Starting pitcher Bruce Chen (1-1) battled through five innings (eight hits and four walks) to pick up the win. The Royals’ bullpen pitched four scoreless innings, retiring the last 12 batters they faced, and Greg Holland picked up his sixth save in six chances.

Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (0-2) was sharp, except for the fourth inning, but he took the loss. He gave up four earned runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings.

The Royals extended a remarkable record. They are 9-0 in games in which they have scored at least four runs, and they are 0-7 in games with three or fewer runs.

The Twins broke on top in the second. Outfielders Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel opened the inning with singles. Chen then walked catcher Josmil Pinto to load the bases with no outs. After designated hitter Kurt Suzuki flied out to short center, Aaron Hicks walked, forcing in a run. Chen got out of further trouble by inducing a double-play grounder from shortstop Pedro Florimon.

The Twins added another run in the fourth when Suzuki yanked one into the Royals’ bullpen in left field. It was his first home run of the season.

The Royals got rolling in the bottom of the fourth with a couple of streak breakers. Designated hitter Billy Butler laced a double into right-center for his first extra-base hit of the season, which moved outfielder Alex Gordon to third with no outs. Third baseman Mike Moustakas scored Gordon with a sacrifice fly, then outfielder Justin Maxwell recorded his first hit – a single – and RBI, tying the score.

After shortstop Alcides Escobar was hit by a pitch, outfielder Nori Aoki and second baseman Omar Infante stroked RBI singles. The Royals’ fifth run – matching a season high in one inning – scored on a double steal by Aoki and Infante and a throwing error by Pinto.

The Twins came right back with two runs in the top of the fifth. First baseman Joe Mauer led off with a bunt single, and third baseman Trevor Plouffe doubled. Chen struck out Colabello, walked Kubel and struck out Pinto. Suzuki then rolled one just past Escobar, driving in Mauer and Plouffe.