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The Sports Xchange, Published April 20 2014

Hughes helps Twins beat Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo.– It may seem strange to call any play huge with a five-run margin of victory, but that is exactly what Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire did following the Twins’ 8-3 victory over the Royals Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

“Huge,” Gardenhire said when asked about Phil Hughes getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning. “You never know how a game is going to go when you get in those situations. He made some big pitches to get through that.

“The double play by (second baseman Brian) Dozier was huge (when the Royals had runners on first and second with one out, down 5-1). That could have been a big inning.”

Hughes (1-1) earned his first victory as a Twin and his first since July 2, 2013, ironically against the Twins. He pitched a season-best six-plus innings and helped the Minnesota Twins salvage the third game of a three-game series. He gave up three runs on nine hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

“It’s good to get that one out of the way and hopefully get on a run here,” Hughes said. “I’ll definitely remember this one. Overall I felt like I made some good pitches today. I just have to avoid those big innings.”

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two doubles, a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the offense.

“Our plan was to see some pitches off him because we hadn’t seen him before,” Plouffe said. “Fortunately for us he fell behind some of our hitters in the beginning and we were able to capitalize. It seemed like he was working from behind most of the game, which obviously worked in our favor.”

Yordano Ventura (1-1) took the loss for Kansas City. It was the worst start of his brief major league career. He gave up four earned runs on six hits, with four walks and six strikeouts in four-plus innings.

“He really struggled on repeating his mechanics,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “When he has trouble, he flies open and drops his arm slot a little bit, which creates kind of an upward appearance of the ball. When he’s good, he stays closed and is strong downhill. He had trouble repeating that today.”

MIN ab r h bi KC ab r h bi

Dozier 2b 6 1 3 0 Aoki rf 5 0 2 0

Mauer 1b 4 1 0 0 Infante 2b 5 0 1 1

Plouffe 3b 4 2 3 2 Hosmer 1b 4 0 2 0

Colbllo rf 4 0 1 1 Perez c 4 0 0 0

Hrrmann rf 1 0 0 0 Hayes c 0 0 0 0

Kubel lf 4 1 1 1 Gordon lf 4 0 0 0

Pinto dh 3 2 1 1 Butler dh 4 0 2 0

Suzuki c 4 0 2 2 Moustks 3b 4 0 0 0

Hicks cf 4 1 0 0 Maxwell cf 4 1 2 0

Escobar ss 4 0 2 1 Escobar ss 3 2 2 2

Totals 38 8 13 8 Totals 37 3 11 3

Minnesota 200 120 300 — 8

Kansas City 000 010 200 — 3

E—Ventura 1. LOB—Kansas City 8, Minnesota 11. 2B—A.Escobar (5), Maxwell (1), Plouffe (7), K.Suzuki (3). 3B—Plouffe (1). HR—A.Escobar (1), Pinto (4). CS—Colabello (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

Hughes W, 1-1 6 9 3 3 1 3

Duensing 1 Zc 1 0 0 0 0

Fien Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Perkins 1 1 0 0 0 2

Kansas City

Ventura L, 1-1 4 6 4 4 4 6

Coleman 1 1 1 1 0 1

Marks 2 4 3 3 3 2

Mariot 2 2 0 0 1 2

Inherited runners-scored—Coleman 1-0. WP—Ventura (1).

Umpires—Home, Brian Gorman; First, Jim Wolf; Second, David Rackley; Third, Bill Welke.

T—3:8. A—17,710 (40,052)