Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 4/23)

Game 1: Friday, April 23
Kansas City5
Game 2: Saturday, April 24
Kansas City10
Game 3: Sunday, April 25
in 10
Kansas City2

Twins 7

(11-5, 4-3 away)

Royals 5

(5-10, 4-3 home)

    8:10 PM ET, April 23, 2004

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 010000033 7 10 0
    KC 130100000 5 12 0

    W: J. Romero (1-0)

    L: C. Leskanic (0-2)

    S: J. Nathan (5)

    Twins win fourth straight over K.C.

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins got just one hit during their three-run, ninth-inning rally Friday night, which propelled them past the Kansas City Royals 7-5.

    Michael Ryan hit a tying single, his third hit of the game, helping Minnesota to its fourth straight win against Kansas City.

    "I was sitting on a slider," said Ryan, who figures to get sent down this weekend when Torii Hunter in activated.

    "Then when he threw me a fastball right down the middle, I changed my approach and sat on a fastball," Ryan said.

    Royals pitchers walked five in the ninth.

    "Baseball's a funny game," said Curis Leskanic (0-2). "I could go out tomorrow and throw the same pitches and have them pop up or swing and miss."

    Corey Koskie had a two-run triple in the eighth off Scott Sullivan and scored on Curtis Leskanic's wild pitch. Koskie had a sacrifice fly in the ninth as the Twins scored six times in the final two innings to erase a 5-1 deficit. Koskie also had two doubles.

    Leskanic, struggling to protect a 5-4 lead in the ninth, walked Lew Ford and Cristian Guzman, then gave up Ryan's RBI single.

    Dennys Reyes relieved and walked Nick Punto. After a walk to Doug Mientkiewicz forced in the go-ahead run, Koskie's sacrifice fly made it 7-5.

    "The bullpen has really been struggling," Leskanic said. "We thought that was going to be a strength of our staff. The last two weeks we've been pretty lousy. "

    The Royals, coming off a 1-7 road trip, got three RBI from Carlos Beltran and six solid innings from Jimmy Gobble after starter Kevin Appier left in the second inning with pain in his surgically repaired elbow.

    "It just took me a little while to get going but I still threw too many hittable pitches and walked two guys," Leskanic said.

    J.C. Romero (1-0) got the last out in the eighth and first in the ninth. Joe Nathan got the final two outs for his fifth save in five opportunities.

    Making the rainy night even worse for the Royals was Appier's elbow pain.

    A 15-year veteran who underwent surgery in the offseason to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow, Appier lasted only 15 pitches in his second post-surgery start.

    He had just given up the first of Koskie's two doubles when he waved for the trainer. Gobble left with a 5-1 lead after seven, giving up six hits with no walks and one strikeout.

    Appier, 36, is Kansas City's only right-handed starter. He has been hoping to extend a career that appeared over last year when he was released by the Angels. The former Royals' ace lost 8-4 to Minnesota in his only other start this year, giving up seven earned runs in three innings.

    The Royals said he will be re-examined on Saturday.

    Carlos Beltran hit a two-run double off Kyle Lohse in the second inning and then scored to make it 4-1 on an RBI single by Juan Gonzalez.

    Kansas City made it 5-1 in the fourth on Beltran's sacrifice fly to deep center.

    Lohse gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.

    Game notes

    A display devoted to the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues was dedicated on Friday on the main concourse of Kauffman Stadium. It includes plaques of the four Monarchs players who reached the Baseball Hall of fame, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith and Wilber "Bullet" Rogan. ... 1B Mike Sweeney is day to day with soreness in his right wrist. He was a last-minute scratch. ... CF Torii Hunter and OF Shannon Stewart were both held out of the Twins' line up because manager Ron Gardenhire did not want to take a chance on their aggravating hamstring injuries on the wet turf. ... The Royals' Aaron Guiel doubled with one out in the sixth inning, breaking an 0-for-24 skid.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press