Boof Bonser went 6 innings but gave up 0 runs on 3 hits. He walked 2 and struck out 4, but managed to get his first win of the year despite getting just 2 runs in support. He probably could’ve pitched the 7th (he left with 89 pitches) but Matt Guerrier and Pat Neshek held down the fort for a couple innings. Guerrier gave up a hit but it was a harmless single and Neshek struck out 2 en route to a 1-2-3 inning. The ever-dominant Joe Nathan picked up his 4th save of the year, giving up a single but needing just 11 pitches to finish off the Royals.
The top of the lineup, for lack of a better word, sucked. Carlos Gomez, Matt Tolbert, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Delmon Young combined to go 1-for-21 with 3 strikeouts and a combined 15 runners left on base (that includes a Mauer strikeout with the bases loaded and 2 outs.) The remaining 4 hitters, however, carried the team.
Jason Kubel hit his third homer of the year, a solo shot in the 2nd, and later scored the second run for the team on a Denard Span RBI single. They had 2 hits apiece and if you tack on Brendan Harris‘ 2 hits and Nick Punto‘s single, bunt single, and walk, the bottom 4 had a solid night (8-for-15 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored, 3 strikeouts, and 3 men left on base.)
For what it’s worth, Kubel’s tied with Morneau for most homers on the team (3; in fact, the team only has 6 total) and now lead the team in RBI with 9.
Francisco Liriano makes his season debut tonight, in fact I was surprised to see that this is his first actual start against the Royals, although he has pitched against them in some relief work before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Redmond in the lineup, for a few reasons. First and foremost, because it’s a day game after a night game. Second, Mauer didn’t do anything at the plate last night and I know Gardy likes to give all his players at least a little bit of playing time. Lastly, from 2003-2007 Red Dog has hit .466 in 73 at-bats against Royals pitching. Call it a prediction if you want, I personally won’t because I hate when predictions don’t come true. The game starts at 1:10 local time but I won’t be able to watch it. Here’s to a solid start for Liriano and a sweep of the tied-for-second-place Royals!