Cruz reaches HR milestone as Twins club Royals

Nelson Cruz hit the 400th home run of his career and Miguel Sano hit two home runs to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 12-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Cruz, who hit his first major league homer against the Twins at the Metrodome while he was with the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2006, became the 57th member of the 400-homer club in the fourth inning when he hammered a Gabe Speier fastball 412 feet into the second deck in right-center to give the Twins an 8-6 lead.

It also was the 40th home run of the season for Cruz, marking the fourth time in his career he has reached that milestone. He is the third Twins player to do it, joining Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who did it seven times, and Brian Dozier (2016).

Sano hit a three-run homer into the second deck left during a six-run first inning against Kansas City starter Jorge Lopez (4-9) and added a solo shot, his 33rd, in the third to the back of the bullpen in left-center for a 7-5 lead. It was the eighth multi-homer game of his career and fifth of the season.

Sano drove in four runs. Eddie Rosario had three doubles and three RBIs. Marwin Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run, and Jorge Polanco had two hits and scored three runs for Minnesota (96-60). The Twins which increased their American League Central Division lead to 4 1/2 games over the Cleveland Indians (91-64), who host the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday night, with six games remaining.

Zack Littell (6-0), the second of eight Minnesota pitchers, picked up the win, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Whit Merrifield had three hits, the third of which gave him 200 for the season, while Nick Dini hit a two-run homer and Nicky Lopez had two doubles and an RBI for Kansas City (57-100), which reached the 100-loss mark for the second straight season.

Merrifield, who led the American League with 192 hits in 2018, became the first Kansas City player since Melky Cabrera in 2011 to reach the 200-hit plateau.

--Field Level Media