Lopez shuts down Royals as Twins begin defense of AL Central title with 4-1 win

Thu, Mar 28, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Lopez shuts down Royals as Twins begin defense of AL Central title with 4-1 win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Pablo Lopez allowed one run over seven innings, Royce Lewis homered before leaving with an injury, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Thursday to begin defense of their AL Central crown.

Carlos Correa added three hits and two RBIs to back a near-peerless performance by Lopez, who picked up where he left off last postseason. The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out seven without a walk in his first opening-day start.

The lone run Lopez (1-0) allowed was a homer to Maikel Garcia, the first batter he faced.

Brock Stewart worked the eighth for Minnesota. Griffin Jax earned the save by handling the ninth.

Cole Ragans (0-1) set a Royals record for opening day with nine strikeouts in just six innings. But the 26-year-old left-hander, who arrived in a midseason trade with Texas last year, also allowed two runs on five hits and two walks.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid began the festivities on a sun-splashed afternoon by hauling the club's latest Lombardi Trophy to the mound, where team owner Clark Hunt and president Mark Donovan held two other Super Bowl trophies. Then Reid, who worked as a vendor at Dodger Stadium as a teen, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett.

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Lewis delivered the first hit of the day for Minnesota, a no-doubt shot to left field with two outs in the first. Garcia delivered the second for Kansas City, a tying homer of his own into the left-field bullpen leading off the bottom half.

Minnesota pulled ahead in the third when Correa's double brought home Manuel Margot. The hit proved costly, though, when Lewis pulled up near third base with a right quad injury; Edouard Julien replaced him.

The Twins added two runs off Chris Stratton in the ninth to give their bullpen a cushion.


Twins: RHPs Jhoan Duran (right oblique strain), Josh Staumont (left calf strain), Justin Topa (left patellar tendinitis) and Zack Weiss (right shoulder strain) and LHP Caleb Thielbar (left hamstring strain) were placed on the injured list.

Royals: RHP Carlos Hernandez (right shoulder impingement), LHPs Jake Brentz (left hamstring strain) and Josh Taylor (left biceps) and INF Michael Massey (lower back strain) were placed on the IL. All of them remained in Arizona.


After taking Friday off, the Twins send RHP Joe Ryan to the mound against Royals RHP Seth Lugo on Saturday. The Royals signed Lugo to a three-year, $45 million contract during their offseason overhaul of the starting rotation.


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