MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa homered back-to-back for the Minnesota Twins, who routed the Kansas City Royals 7-1 on Thursday.
Buxton and Correa teed off on Royals veteran right-hander Zack Greinke in the fourth inning. Buxton’s opposite-field shot was a three-run blast over the high wall in right-center field to make it 6-1. Correa followed that up with a line-drive homer into the bullpens in left-center.
Twins starter Tyler Mahle allowed one run - a solo homer by Vinnie Pasquantino in the top of the fourth - but exited after four innings and 66 pitches with right posterior elbow soreness.
Mahle didn't sound too worried after the game, calling it “just inflammation,” but said he didn't know yet whether he'd make his next start.
"No one's really concerned about it," he said. “So just sit back for a few days and let it calm down and it should be fine.”
Reliever Brock Stewart (1-0), who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, made his Twins debut in replacing Mahle. He pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three batters.
“The guys that have watched him throw at the Triple-A level have been very, very pleased,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He's been pretty dominant. He's throwing the ball great.”
Minnesota has now homered in 10 straight games, with a total of 17 during that stretch.
The 39-year-old Greinke fell to 0-4 on the season and his ERA jumped to 6.10 after allowing seven runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. Greinke hasn’t beaten the Twins since April 30, 2014, a span of nine starts. He also is now 1-8 in 11 career starts at Target Field.
“It was unusual. It seemed like a little bit of a lack of command,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Greinke. “The pitch count was elevated. It just didn't seem like he was commanding it as well as he normally does.”
Minnesota scored a run in the first when Trevor Larnach singled to drive in Correa. The Twins plated two more runs in the second off Greinke.
Pasquantino's home run extended his on-base streak to 21 games, tying his career high.
“He seems to do a really good job of compartmentalizing," Quatraro said of Pasquantino. “He leaves the last at-bat behind him, whether it was good or bad, and goes up there and competes on every pitch.”
Minnesota's bullpen combined for five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Then Twins closer Jhoan Duran pitched the ninth inning despite a six-run lead.
Baldelli said Duran has an early-morning flight Friday to take care of immigration-related documents, so Minnesota opted to pitch him Thursday to save other relievers for Friday's game.
Before Thursday’s game, the Twins reinstated left-hander Josh Winder from the 15-day injured list and optioned left-hander Brent Headrick to Triple-A St. Paul to make room for Winder on the roster.
Winder has not yet appeared for the Twins this season after missing time with a right shoulder strain. He made five rehab appearances before being reinstated, striking out 11 and walking four in nine innings.
Headrick appeared in three games for the Twins and posted a 3.24 ERA.
Royals: Catcher Salvador Perez remained out of the lineup after getting hit by a pitch Tuesday. Quatraro said Perez has a “bad bruise” but underwent pregame activities.
Twins: Right-hander Kenta Maeda had an MRI on his right elbow, which showed a muscle strain and inflammation. Maeda, who exited Wednesday’s game with an elbow injury after allowing 10 runs in three innings, did not have any structural damage to his elbow. He’ll likely land on the injured list.
RHP Jordan Lyles (0-4, 4.88 ERA) gets the start Friday for Kansas City, while RHP Pablo López (1-2, 3.00) starts for Minnesota. Lyles faced the Twins in his first start of the season, allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 2-0 loss. Lopez was on the other side of Lyles in that game against the Royals and allowed just two hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings to earn the win.
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