KANSAS CITY, Mo.(AP) When
and his 30 home runs and 100 RBIs went out for the rest of the season with an injury, the
were two games below .500 and their playoff hopes were in trouble.
stepped in for Morneau at first base and the Twins have stepped up in a playoff run.
Cuddyer hit his 30th homer and walked with the bases loaded and the Twins moved within two games of first-place Detroit in
the AL Central with a 9-4 victory over the
Kansas City Royals
on Friday night.
The Twins, who have won 10 of 11, open a four-game series in Detroit on Monday. They have moved a season-high seven-games
above .500 (80-73).
''It's hard not to glance at the scoreboard,'' said
, who scored the game's first run in the third when he came around from second base on a wild pitch by
. ''If anybody says they are not scoreboard watching, they are straight up lying. We have to take care of our business, but
it's human nature to look at that scoreboard.''
The Twins can do scoreboard watching thanks to Cuddyer, who has six home runs and 18 RBIs in 11 games since replacing Morneau
as the everyday first baseman.
Cuddyer homer in the fourth ended Tejeda's streak of retiring 43 consecutive right-handed hitters, the longest stretch in
the majors this year.
''You know the damage Cuddyer can do,'' Minnesota starter
(13-11) said. ''Mornaeu went down and true professionals have this innate ability to step up when they need to. Cuddyer is
enjoying this. Last year he had a tough injury-ridden year. He watched the team battle without him and I think it truly bothered
him he couldn't be part of that. Now he's part of something special. He's been consistent all year and these last two weeks
he's stepped it up unbelievably. The hits he's gotten are big hits, big home runs, big RBI home runs. I can't say enough.''
can't say enough about Cuddyer either.
''Cuddyer continues,'' Gardenhire said. ''He's been huge. It's a big pick up because of Morneau going down. He's making the
plays at first base. And the other side of it, offensively he's really, really swinging well.''
had four hits and drove in all the Royals' runs with two home runs, his third multihomer game of the season. Butler hit a
solo homer in the fourth and a three-run shot in the fifth that pulled the Royals within 6-4.
''I'm just trying to help the team win,'' Butler said. ''The last few games is the story of our year. We beat the
the first two and then play the way did the last three (all losses). We've got to be more consistent than that.''
The Twins sent 10 men to the plate and scored four runs in the fifth, but had just one hit,
's run-scoring single.
and Cuddyer all walked with the bases loaded. Royals shortstop Yunieksy Betancourt committed his third error in two games
in the inning, making one of the runs unearned.
Pavano gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings for the victory.
''Butler hurt me, but luckily we scored more runs,'' Pavano said.
Tejeda (4-2) was 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA in his first four starts since replacing the injured
in the rotation, but he walked seven in 4 1-3 innings to take the loss. He gave up just two hits, but was charged with six
''I lost command on my breaking pitch, no reason,'' Tejeda said. ''You've going to have to handle a tough day. The Twins don't
swing crazy. They make the pitcher throw the pitch they want. If I had more command in the strike zone, today might have been
homered in the ninth and tripled in a run in the seventh. Mauer walked three times and went 0 for 2, his major league-leading
average dropping to .370.
NOTES: Twins LHP
will start Sunday, his first since Aug. 17 when he lasted only two innings against Texas and went on the disabled list with
arm fatigue. ... Royals trainer Nick Swartz is retiring at the end of the season after 33 years with the organization, including
21 with the big league club. ... Royals RF
was scratched with lower back problems. Teahen returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing nine games with lower back spasms.
... Royals LF
, who left the game Thursday with an illness, did not play Friday.