For the first time this season, the Royals featured a lineup close to the one they thought they would have on Opening Day in their 8-3 win over the Twins on Friday night at Target Field.
Adalberto Mondesi returned from the injured list this week and has three doubles in four games. Hunter Dozier returned from the IL on Friday and broke out of a 0-for-32 slump, and Jorge Soler had two line drives up the middle that snapped an 0-for-22 skid.
“We all understand potential doesn’t get the job done, but it sure has the makings to be something special,” manager Mike Matheny said, when talking about the lineup before the series opener.
And on Friday, potential did get the job done.
Sparked by Dozier’s two-out walk and aggressive baserunning to score on Michael A. Taylor’s double, the Royals scored three in the fifth inning to take the lead against Twins starter Randy Dobnak. They tacked on five runs in the seventh — the total amount of runs Kansas City scored in the three-game set against the Rays earlier this week — by sending 10 batters to the plate as Whit Merrifield added a two-run double to his go-ahead RBI single in the fifth.
It was the most the Royals have scored since May 1 at Target Field, which was right before they lost 11 straight games.
Kansas City did end up needing the insurance runs after Minnesota staged a late rally against reliever Tyler Zuber, but before that, starter Kris Bubic was excellent in six innings. The lefty navigated around a long, 24-pitch first inning to allow just one run on four hits, with five strikeouts and two walks in picking up his first win of the season.