Well, once again, the Twins demolished the Triple-A team of the Central division, the Kansas City Royals. The Twins were once again helped by an incredibly 14 Royal walks (most for the Twins since 1976 against -- yup -- the Royals) adding up to 26 in the past two games. As a note to the Royals, you usually can't win when your starter walks nine batters in less than five innings of work.
Needless to say, despite allowing no hits through 2 2/3 innings of work, the five walks Runelvys Hernandez had issued at that point quickly caught up to him when Justin Morneau launched a pitch just over the right-field fence with two men on. Morneau, after a 1-for-4 day and two walks, now has 29 HRs, 97 RBI, a .323 average, and a .983 OPS. Incredible. He is patient enough to get his pitches, he walks when he has to, he also seems to come up with runners on, and he is far and away the Twins MVP this year up to this point.
Of course, with all those walks, the offense didn't stop there. Things got so out of control for the Royals staff that Nick Punto went hitless but managed three RBI, with a bases-loaded walk and two sacrifice flies. Three players -- Joe Mauer, Punto, and Jason Kubel -- had three walks each, with Jason Tyner and Morneau each collecting two apiece. All the walks added up to easily explain the Twins ability to score 14 runs with only 12 hits.
The best part of the evening was seeing two of the "lighter" Twins hitters have the multi-hit nights. The only Twins players with more than one hit were Jason Bartlett and Luis Castillo. Castillo went 4-for-6 with 3 RBI and Bartlett went 3-for-5 with two RBI. The simple lesson is that when a pitching staff walks 34 batters in 3 games, they don't tend to win too many games. The Royals are a mess and couldn't make a game of it even with a mediocre Carlos Silva on the hill (10 hits, only one K in 6 1/3 innings pitched with three earned runs) continuing to serve up home runs.
Don't forget Twins fans that it's August and Silva has a 6.37 ERA, a .334 BAA, has allowed 22 home runs, and a 1.56 WHIP. The only reason his ugly July (6.67 ERA, 45 hits in 28 1/3 innings) was ignored was because of his 3-1 record due to the massive offensive run the Twins were on over the month. Silva is an awful pitcher still and if he has trouble with a Royals team like this, there should be no reason for him to pitch in a contender's rotation.
Same goes for today's starter, Triple-A veteran Mike Smith, who is lucky enough to pitch against guys that should be in his league. Hopefully the offense doesn't let up. With another 10 walks, why should it?