The 15-year veteran limited the Royals to two singles and an
unearned run in eight innings during Minnesota's 9-2 victory over
Kansas City on Friday night."The guy really knows what he's doing," Royals outfielder Raul
Ibanez said. "Speed and velocity are overrated. He changed speeds
on his fastball, gave you different looks, moved the ball around.
He did a good job. He's a good pitcher. We have no excuses."Keeping the Royals off balance with breaking pitches and
offspeed stuff, Rogers (10-6) was perfect through 4 1-3 innings
before Joe Randa reached on third baseman Corey Koskie's throwing
error.The next batter, Mendy Lopez, dropped an RBI single into
left-center. The only other hit the Royals managed off the
38-year-old Rogers, making his 328th start and 613th overall
appearance, was Angel Berroa's single into left with one out in the
sixth."I tried to keep pitching and not get into a throwing mode,"
said Rogers, who walked one and struck out seven and reached the
10-win plateau for the 11th time in his career."There are days it's going to be there and there are days it's
not going to be there. Today I felt pretty comfortable. I think I
could have a little better sinker."J.C. Romero pitched the ninth for the Twins and gave up an RBI
single to Lopez.It was Rogers' best game since last Aug. 9 when he went eight
innings and gave up just two hits and two earned runs against
Cleveland."The last few starts, I've just tried to back up and pitch and
hit my spots and be the guy I can be every time," Rogers said.
"It was nice to get a big lead against a quality ballclub."Left-hander Jimmy Gobble (2-1), bidding to become the third
rookie in team history to start his career 3-0, kept Minnesota
scoreless through 2 2-3 innings but then the Twins sent eight men
to the plate and took a 5-0 lead."I think he was overthrowing tonight," manger Tony Pena said.
"He was a little off. It's OK. It's understandable. He came out
fighting."Koskie and Jacque Jones each had three hits for the Twins, who
have outscored the Royals 77-64 this year despite losing eight of
13 to their division rivals. Koskie had an RBI double and Jones hit
an RBI single in the third before Hunter connected on a 1-0 pitch
for his 22nd home run to put the Twins on top 5-0. The victory
brought the Twins to within three games of front-running Royals in
the AL Central."We knew how important this game was to us," manager Ron
Gardenhire said.Gobble went three innings and gave up five runs on eight hits,
with one walk and one strikeout.Matt LeCroy singled off Paul Abbott to open the Twins' fifth and
went to third on Jones' double. With two outs and the bases loaded,
No. 9 hitter Cristian Guzman hit a two-run double into center. When
center fielder Desi Relaford's throw to third sailed into the
Minnesota dugout for an error, Dustan Mohr scored to make it 8-0.Luis Rivas led off the Minnesota sixth with a home run. Nine of
the 16 homers Rivas has hit in his three-year career have come
against Kansas City.
The two home runs give Minnesota 23 since the All-Star
break, second lowest in the league only to Anaheim ... RHP James
Baldwin cleared waivers and was outrighted by the Twins to Triple-A
Rochester. He has 72 hours from Thursday to accept or decline the
assignment. RHP Grant Balfour was recalled from Rochester. ...
Twins 1B Doug Mientkiewicz was held out a second straight day with
a sore wrist. ... Gobble's ERA soared from 0.73 to 3.52 in his
third major league start.