MINNEAPOLIS -- Without better starting pitching, the Minnesota Twins can forget about the postseason.
Miguel Olivo homered and drove in three runs, and the Kansas City Royals had their highest run total of the season in a 14-6 victory over Minnesota Tuesday night.Olivo and David DeJesus both had three hits for the Royals.Joe Mauer had three hits and Orlando Cabrera extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games for Minnesota, which has lost five of six and eight of 10. It was the fourth straight home game the Twins have allowed double-digit runs."If we had all the answers it'd be easy, we could stop it, we could fix it right away," said manager Ron Gardenhire.Much of the Twins' recent struggles can be attributed to poor starting pitching. Minnesota starters have a 4.95 ERA, ahead of only Cleveland and Baltimore in the American League. In 23 games since the All-Star break, Twins' starters have a 6.38 ERA.Nick Blackburn (8-7) allowed six runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Blackburn, who allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings last Wednesday in Cleveland, reverted to the form of his previous three outings when he allowed 17 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He is 0-3 with an 8.87 ERA in his last five starts."Right now my pitches are a little bit flat and up. We just need to figure out what it is," said Blackburn. "It's embarrassing and frustrating. I'm getting tired of these outings."It was just the latest cause for concern for a team that thought starting pitching would be a strong suit, but may now consider Carl Pavano, acquired Friday from Cleveland, as its ace. Pavano pitched seven scoreless innings in his Minnesota debut Saturday.Kevin Slowey had season-ending surgery on his right wrist last week, Scott Baker has been inconsistent -- allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start, after one earned run in his previous two outings. Anthony Swarzak has a 5.44 ERA in 10 starts, Francisco Liriano, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, is 4-11 with a 5.63 ERA and could be bullpen-bound. Glen Perkins, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game with a left shoulder strain, is 6-7 with a 5.95 ERA."We don't know what we're going to get right now," Gardenhire said. "We just got to try and get a good roll going and a better feeling."Making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha, Kyle Davies (4-8) allowed one earned run and five hits in five innings, but got his second win in 11 starts since April 30. Davies, who threw 105 pitches, last won on June 13, against Cincinnati. He allowed a season-high eight runs and eight hits last Wednesday against Seattle."Fortunately for him the thing that kept him in the ball game tonight was being able to locate his changeup, got him out of a lot of trouble, and he had some good spots with his curveball as well," said manager Trey Hillman. "Hopefully he can keep going to those and continue to try to get that release point with his fastball because that's the key part."A two-run triple by Olivo and ground-rule double by Alex Gordon highlighted a four-run first inning for Kansas City, which is averaging 7.13 runs in its last eight games.A single by Mike Jacobs put the Royals up 6-1 in the second."We didn't let up after we got the quick runs. That's huge," Jacobs said. "Anytime you put that gas pedal down you gotta go, they all count no matter what. It was nice to see the guys swing the bats. It looked like everybody felt pretty good."Olivo homered off Brian Duensing in the third to make it 7-1. Duensing allowed three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.An RBI double by Gordon, and RBI triple by Yuniesky Betancourt made it 12-1 in the sixth.Denard Span had a two-run double in Minnesota's three-run eighth.
Cabrera singled in the first and scored on a wild pitch. ... Olivo's home run tied his career-high of 16 set in 2006 and 2007. ... Kansas City entered the game tied with Oakland and Texas for the lowest overall team batting average at .255.