Paced by a masterful outing from 23-year-old pitcher Will Smith, the Kansas City Royals opened their series with Minnesota on the right foot on Tuesday with a comfortable 9-1 victory.
Making just his 13th career start, Smith tossed seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts to pick up his fifth win of the season in impressive fashion. The 6'5, 240-pound rookie scattered seven hits and walked three in the outing, and also toppled the 100-pitch mark for just the second time in his big-league career.
With Smith shutting down Minnesota batters left and right, it was a fitting evening for Kansas City's offense to rack up 16 hits as a team. Leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain exemplified his table-setting role with a 3-for-5 night from the plate that included a pair of RBI, as the promising young outfielder even finished a home run shy of a cycle by game's end.
In addition to Cain's big night, infielders Eric Hosmer and Johnny Giavotella also both chipped in 3-for-5 nights, while catcher Salvador Perez wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 15 games with a second-inning single. Now in search of their third straight win on Wednesday, Kansas City will look to inconsistent right-hander Luke Hochevar in Game 2.
Check out Royals Review for more Kansas City baseball news, and be sure to visit Twinkie Town for more Twins coverage. Also visit Baseball Nation for even more news and analysis from around the league.