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Royals' bats fall silent in 8-3 loss to Twins

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm •  Published: April 20, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yordano Ventura lived up to his nickname of "Ace" in two dazzling starts to begin his season.

He showed Sunday that he's still learning to be a big league pitcher.

The Royals' flame-throwing youngster had all sorts of problems in an 8-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Ventura walked four, threw a wild pitch and committed an error when he tried to pick off a runner at first base.

"There's going to be some days he's going to struggle with his command and there's some days he's going to be great," manager Ned Yost said. "He's day-to-day to duplicate his mechanics. When he repeats his mechanics, he makes it look easy."

When he doesn't, well, he looks a lot like he did against the Twins.

"I tried to correct, to make adjustments," Ventura said through Bruce Chen, his translator. "It's not every day that I can make the pitches, but I wanted to go deep and help the team."

The Royals had won five in a row since getting swept by the Twins last weekend.

"They capitalized on mistakes," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We won the series and we were going for a sweep, but it didn't happen and now we're getting ready for Cleveland. We're starting to hit the ball and the starting pitching is there. We're going in the right direction."

Josmil Pinto homered and Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki each drove in a pair of runs to back Phil Hughes (1-1), who won for the first time since last July 2. Hughes allowed three runs on nine hits in six-plus innings while ending a personal eight-game losing streak.

Hughes' solid showing came after he had allowed 12 earned runs in his first 15 innings with Minnesota. The former All-Star had not gotten past the sixth since July 13, when he was still a member of the New York Yankees and was facing his current team.

It helped that the Twins staked him to an early lead.

After they went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position in a 5-4 loss Saturday, Plouffe came through with a double in the Twins' first opportunity Sunday. His drive into the gap in right was enough to score Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer and give Minnesota a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

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