KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Royals did not need a hit to score the winning run Sunday. It wasn’t about how they reached base, just what they did once they got there.
Speedy pinch runner Terrance Gore streaked home on a wild pitch with two outs in the 10th inning, scoring with a headfirst slide to lift the Royals over the winless Minnesota Twins 4-3.
The World Series champion Royals rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it, then dropped the Twins to 0-6. This is Minnesota’s worst start since the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities in 1961.
“People wonder why we had (Gore) on our roster. That’s why,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Christian Colon drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Trevor May (0-1). Gore then made his first appearance of the season, running for Colon, and dashed to third on May’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt.
May retired the next two batters and issued a walk. With a 1-2 count on Lorenzo Cain, May threw a breaking ball that bounced off catcher John Ryan Murphy‘s chest protector and skittered to the right side of the plate.
“That’s what speed does,” Gore said. “I saw it roll out a little bit and then roll a little more. I said I’ve got a shot at this one and I was going for it.”
Mike Moustakas was on second base when Gore made his mad dash home.
“He’s so fast that anything that scoots away like that, he’s going to make it there,” Moustakas said. “I was happy he ended up going. I think he hesitated for a split second. If I’m hesitating, I’m walking back to third base, and he’s sliding headfirst into home plate and winning a game. It’s unreal how fast he is, but it’s awesome.”
Gore beat Murphy’s throw to May covering the plate. May slammed down his hand in frustration after Gore scored.
Wade Davis (1-0) picked up the victory.
“I just couldn’t make a pitch to get those guys out,” Perkins said. “I had Hosmer 0-2 and I had Morales 0-2. I need to get those guys out. I didn’t get them out in that situation. It’s 0-2; that’s a strikeout.”
Ricky Nolasco held the Royals to one run, on a homer by Moustakas, and three hits over seven innings in his first start.
“We need that one,” Nolasco said. “It’s a little tough to swallow. We can’t afford to lose too many more before winning a few. A nice little win streak here and we’ll relax and get this thing going.”
Eduardo Nunez went 4 for 4 for Twins, matching his career high in hits.
It was Volquez’s first game with at least 10 strikeouts since Sept. 25, 2014 while with Pittsburgh at Atlanta.
Joe Mauer went 3 for 3, was hit by a pitch and walked intentionally in the ninth. The Twins star is hitting .344 in 83 games at Kauffman Stadium.
The Twins loaded the bases on a bunt single, error and two walks in the ninth, but Dillon Gee struck out Byung Ho Park to end the threat. It was Park’s fourth strikeout.
Twins: OF Danny Santana was put on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled right hamstring. He was hurt Saturday.
The Twins recalled OF Max Kepler, the 2015 Southern League MVP, from Triple-A Rochester to replace Santana. Kepler, 23, was born in Berlin and in 2009 was given an $800,000 signing bonus, which at the time was a record for a European position player.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson will start the home opener against the White Sox.
Royals: RHP Chris Young will start at Houston, the first road game for the defending World Series champs. The Astros will counter with RHP Collin McHugh, who gave up six runs while getting just one out against the Yankees in his initial start.