Sweep, it is: Gordon, Volquez guide Royals past Twins 7-2 - KCTV5

Sweep, it is: Gordon, Volquez guide Royals past Twins 7-2

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Royals’ Alex Gordon, left, and Eric Hosmer bump chests after Gordon's three-run home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson during the 1st inning of the game June 10 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) Royals’ Alex Gordon, left, and Eric Hosmer bump chests after Gordon's three-run home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson during the 1st inning of the game June 10 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer, Edinson Volquez struck out six batters over seven innings and the Kansas City Royals beat Minnesota 7-2 on Wednesday to finish the first series sweep this season of the Twins at home.

The Twins scored 11 runs while stumbling to a 1-5 record on this home-stand, which handed the division lead back to Kansas City. The Twins hadn't been swept since the opening series of the season at Detroit.

Their frustration was evident in the eighth, when Torii Hunter was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger for arguing a called third strike. Hunter had to be restrained briefly, before yanking off his elbow pad, shin guard and batting gloves and throwing them toward the batter's box.

For good measure, Hunter ripped off his jersey and threw that over the first-base line, before retreating to the dugout.

Manager Paul Molitor was given his first career ejection during the conflict, too.

Volquez (5-4) pitched the Royals to victory by reaching the seven-inning mark for only the second time in his last nine starts.

Kyle Gibson (4-4) found a groove after Gordon's big hit, finishing six innings with six strikeouts while allowing five hits and two walks, but he had little help.

The Royals won't visit Minnesota again until Oct. 2-4, when the two teams finish the regular season with three games. The Twins would love to make that matchup factor into the division title, or at least the wild-card race.

This series provided a poignant reminder, though, that the Twins haven't really caught up to the reigning American League champion Royals even if they spent the past week in first place from the thrust of their 20-7 mark in May. The Twins had the best home record in the league, until the Royals arrived this week and dropped them to 20-12.

Molitor moved sputtering six-time All-Star Joe Mauer up to second in the lineup for the first time this season and put Trevor Plouffe in Mauer's usual third spot, but Volquez was the latest opposing pitcher to keep the Twins quiet. Plouffe's two-out single drove in a run in a three-hit third inning, but there were no other threats.

Volquez scattered seven singles while walking two.

Plouffe, whose triple in the seventh was Minnesota's only hit against Chris Young the night before, homered off Luke Hochevar in the eighth.

Gibson had a 2.03 ERA in the five previous starts of his career against the Royals, and he was in command again.

Except for that first inning.

Eric Hosmer's single drove in the first run. With two outs and a full count, Gibson left enough of a changeup over the plate for Gordon to drive it into the right-field seats for a 4-0 lead. The Royals stretched their lead with two of their three unearned runs in the seventh against J.R. Graham, including an RBI single by Mike Moustakas.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Kansas City: The Royals must decide on Thursday whether to keep Drew Butera or return Aaron Kratz as catcher Salvador Perez's backup, when Kratz's rehabilitation assignment for a foot injury expires. Manager Ned Yost was hardly worried about a break for Perez.

"I've given him too much rest. We've had a lot of off days, a lot of rainouts," Yost said, adding: "It makes you want to catch him every single day, a guy that's one of your best offensive players and a Gold Glove All-Star behind the plate."

Minnesota: Shortstop Jorge Polanco went 1 for 3 with a walk in his season debut and was charged with one of three errors by the Twins. He's expected to be returned to Double-A Chattanooga when Eddie Rosario is back from paternity leave.

UP NEXT

Kansas City: The Royals start a three-game intrastate, interleague series against St. Louis after a day off. Yordano Ventura (3-5, 4.62 ERA) will pitch for the Royals on Friday, opposite Jaime Garcia (1-3, 2.67 ERA) of the Cardinals.

Minnesota: After an off day, the Twins travel to Texas for a three-game series. Tommy Milone (2-1, 4.55 ERA) will start on Friday for the Twins against fellow Wandy Rodriguez (3-2, 3.25 ERA) of the Rangers.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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