KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Jorge Soler hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Friday night to open the third straight weekend series between AL Central rivals.
Hunter Dozier added a two-run shot and finished with three RBIs as Kansas City won for the sixth time in its last seven games at Kauffman Stadium. Whit Merrifield had two hits and drove in a run.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (2-2) needed 81 pitches to get through five innings, but he permitted just four hits and a pair of walks while striking out six. The only run he allowed came when Ehire Adrianza grounded out with a runner on third.
Twins starter Jake Odorizzi (0-1) allowed five runs and seven hits before he was literally knocked from the game. Alex Gordon drilled him with a liner in the ribs, and the right-hander who began his career in the Kansas City organization went to the ground immediately. It took several minutes before Odorizzi could walk gingerly to the dugout.
X-rays taken at the ballpark were negative, and the Twins called his injury a bruised right abdomen.
The Royals, who have struggled to give Duffy much run support, staked him to a big lead right out of the gate.
Merrifield opened the game with a crisp double and, after Nicky Lopez put runners on the corners with a base hit, Hunter Dozier followed with an RBI single. That merely set the table for the power-hitting Soler, who boosted a hanging 1-2 pitch from Odorizzi well over the left-field bullpen for his sixth homer of the season.
The Twins scratched out a run in the second on a walk, single and groundout but kept squandering chances. They left a runner in scoring position when Max Kepler struck out, then left runners stranded on the corners in the third.
The Royals answered with a run in the fourth. They tacked on two more on Dozier’s homer in the seventh.
Twins: They were playing their first game without either OF Byron Buxton (shoulder), 2B Luis Arraez (knee), 3B Josh Donaldson (calf) and C Mitch Garver (ribs) in the starting lineup. There is a chance Arraez returns during the series.
Royals: C Salvador Perez was placed on the injured list after dealing with blurred vision since Sunday. He saw an eye specialist Monday and the condition is not considered serious. We want to take as much time as we can and make a wise decision for him and us, manager Mike Matheny said. He’s trying to push everything as hard as he can to help that eye heal, but it’s just going to take time.
RHP Brady Singer (1-2, 4.56 ERA) makes his sixth career start for the Royals, with half of them having now come against the Twins. Minnesota counters with Randy Dobnak, who is off to a brilliant 4-1 start with a 1.42 ERA.
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