KANSAS CITY — Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs, helping the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Friday night.
Rosario had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, hit his 21st home run in the third inning off Ian Kennedy (4-11) and knocked a two-out, bases-loaded single in the fourth to score Robbie Grossman and Joe Mauer. Rosario has 10 home runs and 28 RBIs in his past 30 games.
Ervin Santana (15-7) gave up four runs and five hits over five innings for the victory. He is 4-0 in nine starts since a July 21 loss. His 15 victories are tied for the AL lead.
Eduardo Escobar had three hits and homered for the Twins in the fifth.
Matt Belisle pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
Kennedy was pulled after giving up three runs, four hits and three walks over three innings. He is winless in a club-record 18 straight home starts. He is 0-9 since his last home victory on Aug. 20, 2016.
The Twins jumped to a 5-1 lead, but the Royals trimmed it with Eric Hosmer’s solo home run in the third and Whit Merrifield’s two-run double.
Ramon Torres’ seventh-inning single scored Alcides Escobar, cutting the Minnesota lead to 6-5. Trevor Hildenberger replaced Taylor Rogers with two runners on base and none out and induced Merrifield into a groundball double play.
The Twins added two in the eighth with Robbie Grossman tripling in one run and Mauer doubling in another.
HERRERA NO LONGER CLOSER: Royals manager Ned Yost has removed right-handed pitcher Kelvin Herrera, who blew a save Thursday, from the closer’s role.
“He’s not sharp,” Yost said. “He’s pitching about once over five days. We need to get him more in a pitching rhythm. It’s not enough to keep him sharp. We can pitch him in the seventh and eighth innings and get him in more games instead of holding him back for save situations and try to get him sharp again and then reinsert him.”
Yost said he would use a closer by committee, mentioning left-handers Scott Alexander and Mike Minor and right-handers Brandon Maurer and Peter Moylan. Herrera gave up two runs in the eighth on two hits.
TWINS’ ROTATION: Twins manager Paul Molitor said right-handed pitchers Kyle Gibson and Santana would start Tuesday and Wednesday against the Padres on their normal four days of rest, while others would be pushed back with the team off Monday. Gibson is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his past four starts. Santana has not lost a game since July 21.
TRAINER’S ROOM: Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (tightness in quads) was the designated hitter. Paulo Orlando started in center. … Third baseman Mike Moustakas (sore right knee) was not in the lineup and likely will be held out again Saturday. … Right-handed pitcher Joakim Soria (left oblique strain) threw a bullpen session with no problems.
ON DECK: Twins right-hander Jose Berrios is 0-1 with an 8.20 ERA in four career starts against Kansas City.
He’ll face Royals righty Jake Junis, who has won five straight decisions.