MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For almost three seasons, Josh Willingham’s family was there to greet him outside the Twins’ clubhouse at Target Field.
Willingham’s family was waiting for him again on Friday, only this time the slugger came out of a different door.
Willingham returned to Target Field and hit a bases-clearing double in Kansas City’s five-run fourth inning, and the surging Royals hung on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5.
Danny Duffy (8-10) allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings to win his third straight start. Kansas City has won 11 of 12 and sits atop the AL Central.
After Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the third, the first six Royals hitters reached base to start the fourth off Ricky Nolasco (5-8). Willingham drilled a bases-loaded double down the left-field line to make it 3-2.
Two batters later, Alcides Escobar tripled to score Willingham and Mike Moustakas. Escobar also blooped an RBI single in the eighth to make it 6-3.
After Duffy was removed, Aaron Crow and Francisley Bueno finished the sixth inning before Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Holland preserved the victory.
That trio has allowed only four runs over the last 44 1/3 innings, including two by Holland on Friday. The Royals are 19-4 over that span.