Twins pound KC in record-breaking fashion
Mauer, Valencia combine for nine of Minnesota's 20 hits
KANSAS CITY -- This certainly wasn't a no-hitter. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
The Twins slammed the Royals, 19-1, behind a 20-hit attack on Monday, and with that came all sorts of records and firsts -- favorable for the Twins, yet not-so-favorable for the Royals.
The 18-run margin of victory set a Twins club record against the Royals, which dates back to 1976, and surpassed the season high in runs scored by four. The Twins also recorded 11 extra-base hits, just one shy of tying the franchise record set in 1979.
"A heck of a ballgame for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The ball was flying all over the place, and anytime you've got [Royals starting pitcher Zack] Greinke on the mound and you get six in the first, you've done something right. [We] went from there after that."
One of those extra-base hits came from Twins rookie Danny Valencia in the first inning when he knocked his first career home run -- a grand slam over the fence in right field -- with two outs. With the grand slam, Valencia became the first Twin to ever record a grand slam as his first career home run.
But Valencia wasn't finished there. The 25-year-old Florida native, who was making just his 24th start of the season, finished his day going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored. This marked the eighth multihit game of his young career and his four hits and four runs marked a career high.
Even still, that wasn't it for Valencia. He became the ninth rookie in Twins history to score four runs, just one shy of the record, set by Tim Teufel in 1983.
Gardenhire wasn't surprised by what he saw from the rookie third baseman.
"That was a fastball that he just turned on," Gardenhire said of the grand slam. "We've seen that in the past from him -- saw it in Spring Training and then he just got away from it and started floating to the ball. Hopefully he's past those. He's been working really hard, a good night for him."
Oh, and that grand slam off the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner -- it's something Valencia might want to hold on to.
"First home run, a grand slam off Greinke?" Gardenhire said. "That's something to write on the ball. You don't see that very often. That young man is as good as they get as far as pitchers go. I guess if you have to hit your first home run in the big leagues and you can put Greinke on it, that's not bad."
Valencia wasn't the only one to be perfect at the plate. Catcher Joe Mauer backed up the rookie by going 5-for-5 with three singles, a double and a home run, which marks the second time this season -- and the fourth time in his career -- that he has put together a five-hit attack.
The last time Mauer had five hits in a game coincidentally came against the Royals on April 24 in Kansas City. Mauer also recorded a career-high seven RBIs -- the first Twin to do so since his teammate, Justin Morneau, knocked in seven in 2009 at Oakland. Mauer is now batting .535 (23-for-43) against the Royals this season.
"I felt tonight was good," Mauer admitted. "Even the pitches that I was taking, I didn't feel like I was rushed. I felt good even when I didn't swing. Yeah, it was a good night."
On the other end of the spectrum, the Royals' 18-run defeat tied their largest losing margin in franchise history.
Greinke gave up the most earns runs he'd allowed since he gave up eight in June of 2008 in Chicago.
"You shouldn't have a game like this ever -- it was that bad," Greinke said. "Every time I threw it over the strike zone, they hit it hard. So, obviously, it wasn't real good today. It was just a bad game."
Well, a bad game for the Royals, that is.
Samuel Zuba is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.