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Vargas, Royals shut down Twins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jason Vargas pitched seven scoreless innings and the Kansas City Royals improved to 8-0 when scoring at least four runs with a 5-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.

It was the fourth straight victory for Kansas City, which entered the streak with the worst record in the American League. The Royals now are tied with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas connected on his second home run in three games in the bottom of the sixth to give Vargas a comfortable cushion. His 389-foot blast to right field drove home designated hitter Billy Butler to give the Royals the 5-0 lead.

Vargas (2-0) scattered seven hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 1.24.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (1-2) gave up five runs on 11 hits over 5⅔ innings. In his last start, he limited the Royals to one run on five hits in eight innings.

The Royals’ 11-hit attack was led by shortstop Alcides Escobar, who went 3-for-3.

The Royals grabbed the lead in the third on RBI singles by second baseman Omar Infante and first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar pulled a one-out double down the left-field line. Outfielder Nori Aoki followed with an infield single. Infante’s single went about 40 feet, but Nolasco’s attempt to get Escobar at the plate was late. Hosmer then lined a pitch into right field, scoring Aoki.

The Royals tacked on a run in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Infante.

Vargas worked around trouble early, but his defense helped him. A double play in the third and a perfect throw by outfielder Alex Gordon from the wall in left center in the fourth cut short Twins’ rallies.

  • OF Alex Gordon’s assist to end the top of the fourth inning on Friday night was his 57th since 2011, tops in the majors for outfielders.
  • The Royals placed OF Jarrod Dyson on the bereavement leave before the game because of a death in his family. He is expected back with the team for the Monday night game at Cleveland. To replace him, the team recalled IF/OF Jimmy Paredes from Triple-A Omaha. Paredes was hitting .317 (15-for-47) for the Storm Chasers.
  • The Royals already were down an outfielder after Lorenzo Cain went on the disabled list following Wednesday night’s game at Houston with a left groin strain.
  • Twins OF Chris Colabello has 19 RBIs — best in the American League — through 15 games. The team record for RBIs in April is 26 by Kirby Puckett in 1994.