The way Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar was pitching, Gardy didn't need to.
Hochevar gave up just two Twins hits in seven innings, shutting out Minnesota and earning his third win of June in the process. The 25-year-old struggled with his control early on, walking four hitters in the first three innings, but pitched around the baserunners and settled himself down thereafter. Apart from a double and a 14-hop single, the Twins couldn't touch the starter - and Minnesota's Nick Blackburn couldn't match his performance.
The Twins righty needed his bullpen for the first time in three starts, going just six innings. Blackburn lived dangerously the entire evening, dancing around hit after hit, but it was two long balls - back-to-back dingers from Alberto Callaspo and Miguel Olivo to lead off the sixth inning - that sealed the deal. R.A. Dickey gave up a run in an inning of relief, as the Royals finished off the victory.
Olivo was the offensive star for K.C., finishing just a double short of the cycle and figuring in three of the Royals' runs. The catcher scored following a single and a Michael Cuddyer throwing error in the second inning, homered in the sixth, and blasted an RBI triple off the center field fence in the seventh.
The Twins did briefly attempt a comeback in the eighth. Justin Morneau smashed a line-drive homer to right field with a man aboard off of John Bale, cutting the Royals' lead in half. It was too little, too late, however, and Kansas City closer Joakim Soria came on to shut down the Twins in the ninth, striking out the side in the process.
Gardenhire, meanwhile, was gone by the top of the sixth, after a strange play involving Jason Kubel. The Twins DH pounded a ground ball into the dirt that hopped down the line, bounced off the bag, and was turned into an out without Kubel ever leaving the batter's box. He claimed the ball hit his foot, not the dirt. Replays were inconclusive. Gardenhire came out to argue with home plate umpire Larry Vanover, who incensed the Twins manager by refusing to ask any other umpire for help. Eventually, Gardy threw his hat and yelled a few choice swears, and earned a vacation in the process.
Given the Twins' lack of success at the plate, on the mound, and in the field, the Twins' manager probably only wished that the vacation had come a lot sooner.Three Stars:
3. Alberto Callaspo - Homered and scored twice.
2. Miguel Olivo
1. Luke Hochevar
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