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Twins rock Royals behind Sonny Gray, Gio Urshela

Sportsnaut
Aug 16, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Sandy Leon (39) lays down an RBI sacrifice bunt against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray pitched six shutout innings, Gio Urshela went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Gilberto Celestino homered and scored twice as the Minnesota Twins cruised to a 9-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

It was the fourth four-hit game of Urshela’s career and his first as a member of the Twins. Luis Arraez increased his American League-leading batting average to .336 with a double and two singles and Jose Miranda also had three hits and a walk for Minnesota, which closed to within one game of Central Division-leading Cleveland with its second straight victory. Byron Buxton and Nick Gordon each added two hits for the Twins, who out-hit Kansas City 16-5.

Gray (7-3) matched his season high with 10 strikeouts and held the Royals to just Bobby Witt Jr.’s bloop single and a walk over the first six innings before yielding back-to-back singles to Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino to start the seventh. Caleb Thielbar then relieved Gray and got out of the jam by getting Michael Massey to ground into a fielder’s choice and then striking out Michael A. Taylor and Nick Pratto.

Zack Greinke (4-8) fell to 1-6 in nine career starts at Target Field, allowing three runs (one earned) on nine hits over six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. Pasquantino had two hits and a walk to lead the Royals.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, parlaying two singles and an error by Witt into a pair of unearned runs. Urshela led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third when Witt whiffed on Celestino’s grounder. Sandy Leon then drove in Urshela with a safety squeeze to make it 1-0. Arraez followed with a single to drive in Celestino.

Celestino made it 3-0 in the fourth when he lined his second home run of the season off the facing of the second deck in left field.

The Twins then broke the game open with a three-run seventh, batting around in the process. Arraez started the inning with a double and later scored on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Max Kepler. Urshela added an RBI single and Gordon lined a double off the right field wall to drive in another run, making it 6-0.

Minnesota added three more runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Miranada, Urshela and Gordon.