Kennedy impressive in Royals debut, beats Twins

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Ian Kennedy followed up an unimpressive spring with a strong regular season debut with the Kansas City Royals.

Kennedy pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and the Royals hit their first three home runs of the season to beat the winless Minnesota Twins 7-0 Saturday night.

“There was a little more added to it, coming to a new team that’s the defending world champs,” said Kennedy, who was 0-3 with a 6.30 in spring games. “You want to do well. It adds a little more to it in your first outing for them.”

The Twins fell to 0-5 for the first time since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961.

Kennedy (1-0), signed by the Royals to a five-year $70 million contract in January, limited the Twins to five hits – including four singles, before being pulled after 109 pitches with two out in the seventh. He walked one and struck out seven.

“This is the pitcher we signed,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We don’t even look at spring training numbers. He was on top of his game.”

Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain hit successive home runs in the fourth for the first hits off Twins left-hander Tommy Milone, while Kendrys Morales homered in the sixth off Casey Fien.

“Even those two home runs I felt were two pretty well-placed pitches,” Milone said. “Just good hitters. They were either waiting for it or good adjustments.”

Milone (0-1) allowed four runs – two earned – and four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar committed two errors – one fielding and one throwing – leading to the two unearned runs in the fifth.

“Everything went wrong that could,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “A decent start from Tommy and then the back-to-back homers. We were having trouble getting anything going offensively again. Then we made some mistakes in the field the next inning that kind of opened up the flood gates a little bit.”

Paulo Orlando, who was making his first start of the season, had three hits, including an RBI single in the three-run sixth and scored on Alcides Escobar‘s two-out triple.

Chien-Ming Wang, who won 38 games for the Yankees in 2006-07, pitched a scoreless ninth, his first big league appearance since Aug. 24, 2013, while with Toronto.


Twins: CF Danny Santana left with a strained right hamstring in the sixth and will be placed on the disabled list.

Royals: OF Jarrod Dyson (right oblique strain) went 1 for 2 with a RBI, walk and scored two runs Saturday for Triple-A Omaha in his first rehab game.


CF Bryan Buxton, who was ranked the Twins top prospect entering the season, and LF Miguel Sano, who hit .280 with 18 HRs in 80 games as a rookie, were not in the lineup. Buxton has struck out 10 times in 15 at-bats, while Sano is 2 for 15 with no extra-base hits and striking out eight times. “Some of the guys who have not gotten off to good starts we are giving a little bit of a blow,” Molitor said. “You are just looking for some people to step up and kind of get this ship rolling in a more positive direction.” Buxton replaced the injured Santana in the sixth and struck out in the eighth, while Sano flied out as a pinch hitter with two runners on in the seventh and struck out to end the game.


Royals manager Ned Yost lives in Georgia, was on the Atlanta Braves’ coaching staff 12 seasons and managed three years in the South Atlantic League, where his teams would play games at Augusta. Yost, however, has never played the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters. “I would not do that,” Yost said. “I would not disgrace that place with me playing golf on it. No way that would ever happen. Even if I was invited to play I would not do that.”


Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco, who was limited to 37 1/3 innings last year because of ankle and elbow injuries, will make his first start.

Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez, who threw six scoreless innings to beat the Mets in the season opener, will start the series finale.

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