Sano, Santana steer Twins past Royals

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — For the Minnesota Twins, the memory of that 0-9 start and 59-103 finish last year was still uncomfortably fresh.

They couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the new season than this.

Miguel Sano homered and drew the third bases-loaded walk during a dreadful seventh inning for Kansas City’s bullpen, as Ervin Santana and the Twins beat the Royals 7-1 on Monday for their first opening victory in nine years.

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“We didn’t try to overemphasize anything about today other than the fact that we’ve been on a little bit of a mission in spring training to try to come out and play a little bit better,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Santana (1-0) gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out three over seven innings, aided by two diving catches of sinking line drives by center fielder Byron Buxton that highlighted a stellar afternoon of defense by the Twins.

Mike Moustakas homered leading off the fourth for the Royals, but Sano came back in the bottom of the inning with a tying 425-foot drive into the second deck off Danny Duffy. Six straight balls by Santana to start the seventh gave Molitor pause, but he responded to the mound visit with three straight outs to finish the frame.