By Joe Christensen
KANSAS CITY, MO. — With the Royals riding an 11-game losing streak, it was tough to tell if they were just plain terrible or if Kevin Slowey really was that good in Thursday’s 5-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Either way, the Twins will take it.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Slowey was the story but was quick to compliment Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla, who each reached base four times, atop the lineup.
“When they start getting on, it’s entertaining out there,” Gardenhire said. “You never know when they’re going to run. A couple of ill-advised [stolen base attempts by Gomez]. But that’s part of the game, too. Every once in a while you scratch your head a little bit, but it’s fun to watch them because they both come to play, and they’re playing very well for us right now.”
Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer had the whiskers growing pretty long tonight, so I had to ask them, “Playoff beards?”
“I think I forgot my razor,” Mauer said. “Just trying to clean it up a little bit. It’s getting out of hand.”
Then Cuddyer came clean. They’re not playoff beards, like the ones in the NHL. They’re not even lucky beards being grown since the 19-3 loss Saturday. (They’ve won four games since that debacle.)
“No, they’re homer-less beards,” Cuddy said.
In other words, they’re not shaving until they hit their next home runs. Cuddyer has one on the season and Mauer none. Mauer sure came close Thursday, hitting a ball off the center-field wall in the fifth inning.
Cuddyer, who singled home the Twins’ first run for his 19th RBI in 36 games, noted how the homer-less beard is a good incentive. His wife, Claudia, is not a big fan of the beard.
Delmon Young welcomed reporters for an interview after the game, saying he didn’t want to talk before the game because his streak was technically still alive.
Last year, he came off the bench three times for Tampa Bay, finishing with 162 games played.
“I’ll take a day off any time,” he said.
He even poked fun at himself.
“I’ve been having days off, except my stats keep going down,” he said. “This one, stays even.”
Asked if Tuesday’s inside-the-park play was on his mind when he missed Alex Gordon’s fly ball Wednesday, he said, “I just flat-out missed that ball. The night before doesn’t really bother me after about 30 seconds go by.”
The Twins optioned Bobby Korecky to Class AAA Rochester after the game, making room on the roster for lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow, who will be in uniform for Friday’s game against the Yankees.