Smith shuts down Twins as Royals win

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm •  Published: September 11, 2012
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Will Smith is probably auditioning for a spot in Kansas City's rotation next season.

Having Salvador Perez as his catcher sure helps his cause.

Smith pitched seven shutout innings, Eric Hosmer homered and the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 9-1 on Tuesday night.

Lorenzo Cain had two RBIs and was a home run away from the cycle as Kansas City beat Minnesota for just the sixth time in 16 games.

Perez extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games and threw out two runners trying to steal in support of Smith (5-7), who struck out a career-high seven and gave up seven hits in his first win in four starts.

"That guy's awesome," Smith said about Perez. "He's so good. You love having him back there. You feel confident that the running game, he's just going to completely shut it down."

Ryan Doumit had the Twins' RBI and Ben Revere had three hits.

Joe Mauer was in the initial starting lineup, but was scratched after experiencing back spasms before batting practice.

The atmosphere at Target Field brought back memories of the Metrodome, and not only because of all the empty seats for a September game featuring two teams out of contention.

With two outs and two runners on in the second inning, Cain hit a towering fly to left field. Josh Willingham lost it in the sky, holding out his hands as the ball fell 15 feet behind him and both runners scored.

Outfielders losing flyballs was a common occurrence under the white Teflon roof of the Metrodome, but hasn't been a problem under the lights at Target Field.

"It was just the time of day. It's frustrating when you can't see the ball," Willingham said. "You can't catch it if you can't see it. Can't see it, it's pretty helpless."

The miscue didn't help Scott Diamond (11-7) get back on track.

The left-hander allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings and has just one victory in his last six starts.

The first two Twins batters reached in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but they couldn't break through against Smith.

Perez threw out basestealers to help erase the threats in the first and fifth, and Smith got Ryan Doumit to ground into a double play and struck out Trevor Plouffe to end the fourth.