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Twins thump Royals 10-2

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MINNEAPOLIS — Offensively challenged for much of June, the Minnesota Twins erupted as the calendar flipped to July.

The Twins scored 10 runs and pounded out 15 hits Tuesday in a 10-2 win over the Kansas City Royals at Target Field.

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Shortstop Eduardo Nunez led the offensive charge for the Twins with three hits, including a solo home run to lead off the sixth and an RBI single in the fourth.

Designated hitter Kendrys Morales, catcher Kurt Suzuki and left fielder Chris Parmelee also had multi-hit games for the Twins, who had lost six of seven entering play Tuesday. Every Twins starter had at least one hit, and only Josh Willingham, who entered the game in the fifth inning, was held off the board.

“The offense came alive,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “A lot of good things happened, Nunez and Parmelee at the top. Ricky (Nolasco) did a nice job battling early. I’ve been saying we needed to score some runs to take some pressure off those guys and tonight we did that.”

Right-hander Nolasco picked up the victory, tossing six innings of one-run ball, allowing eight hits, walking none and striking out three while improving to 5-6.

Royals righty James Shields allowed at least four runs in his third straight start, giving up five runs (four earned) over five innings and dropping to 8-4.

Up by four runs after five innings, the Twins put the game away with a marathon sixth inning, batting around to score five times and take a nine-run lead. Nunez hit his third homer of the year to start the barrage, and the Twins took advantage of a fielding error by second baseman Omar Infante, also stringing together four hits.

Suzuki drew a bases-loaded walk and center fielder Sam Fuld drove in two with a two-out single.

Royals reliever Michael Mariot was charged with five runs in one-third of an inning, although only two were earned. He gave up three hits and walked two. Francisley Bueno pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, doing yeoman’s work out of the bullpen ahead of the series finale today.

“Mariot really struggled to throw strikes,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Bueno did a phenomenal job not making us use (Aaron) Crow, making us use (Kelvin) Herrera in that situation. He went above the call of duty.”

The Twins also posted a crooked number in the fourth, taking advantage of a Royals miscue. After back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases, Nunez hit a soft bloop toward first that was fielded by first baseman Eric Hosmer, who faked a throw home before deciding to get the out at first. But Shields didn’t cover the bag and everyone was safe while allowing a run to score. First baseman Joe Mauer, who had struck out swinging in each of his first two at-bats, followed with a double down the left-field line to drive in two more.

Mauer appeared hurt on the play but remained in the game until the end of the inning before being lifted. He was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and will be re-evaluated on today.

“I’ve been battling that area for about a week now,” Mauer said.

Nolasco worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth before finishing on a high note with his second 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

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