Infielder's bat helps Minnesota avoid sweep

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Everybody wanted to give Corey Koskie credit for igniting the Minnesota Twins.

Everybody but Corey Koskie.

"Guys can holler all they want," the third baseman said after homering twice and driving in a career-high six runs as the Twins routed the Kansas City Royals 16-2 Thursday.

"But they've got to put it on themselves. Everybody took it upon themselves. I had nothing to do with it."

The Twins, who had lost the first three games of the series and seen their lead in the AL Central shrink to one game over the Royals, rapped out 23 hits.

After the Royals' 8-6 victory Wednesday night, several Twins took themselves to task, with Koskie being the most vocal.

"He was just telling everybody to bring the energy. You don't see Koskie like that very often. You see Koskie upset, you know something's serious," center fielder Torii Hunter said.

The Twins avoided a four-game sweep with their highest hit total since getting 25 against Cleveland on June 4, 2002.

Joe Mays (8-4) got several nice defensive plays behind him in giving up two runs and six hits in eight innings. The Royals had scored 31 runs in winning the first three games of the series.

Koskie hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Kyle Snyder and a solo shot off Kris Wilson that made it 15-0 in the seventh.

Cristian Guzman had four hits, and Doug Mientkiewicz, Jacque Jones and Hunter had three apiece. Jones also had three RBI, including a two-run homer in the fourth.

"Koskie was very emotional after the game last night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was one of the guys who came in and said we need to pick ourselves up. And you saw what he did today."

Snyder (1-4), who missed his previous start with a sore lower back, gave up singles to the first three batters and allowed 10 hits and seven runs in four innings.

He wasn't sure whether the Twins had come out with a little extra fire.

"Whether or not that was the case, I don't know. I place the blame in my corner," Snyder said. "I'm sure they were ready to win that game. They were obviously ready to play it."

Albie Lopez started the fifth and gave up seven runs on six hits and two walks while getting only two outs in his final appearance for the Royals.

The right-hander, who in his last 11 innings gave up 29 runs, was released. The Royals made the announcement immediately after the last out.

Lopez signed a one-year, $1.5 million free-agent contract in January.

Snyder gave up singles to Jones, Guzman and Koskie leading off the game. Jones scored on Koskie's hit, then Justin Morneau's infield out made it 2-0.

Two more runs scored in the third on back-to-back doubles by Morneau and Hunter. Jones made it 6-0 with a two-run homer in the fourth.

Koskie's RBI single made it 7-0, and the Twins started teeing off on Lopez in the seven-run fifth. Luis Rivas, Jones and Guzman had RBI singles before Koskie hit Lopez's first pitch for his eighth home run.

Mientkiewicz ended the inning with an RBI double. The Twins' final run came on Mientkiewicz's RBI single in the ninth.

"They cut our lead in half, but we left town in first place," Gardenhire said. "I guess that's what matters most."

Desi Relaford had an RBI double in the eighth for Kansas City and Raul Ibanez an RBI single in the seventh.

Game notes
In the four games, the Twins had 62 hits and 37 runs but got only one victory. ... Two Twins celebrated birthdays Thursday. Mientkiewicz turned 29, Dustan Mohr 27. ... It was the shortest outing and most runs allowed by Snyder this year. ... 2B Carlos Febles made his second career appearance at SS for the Royals. ... Mientkiewicz made a nifty play on Angel Berroa's line drive in the sixth, a diving, lunging catch. ... It was the seventh two-homer game for Koskie. ... The Royals' Mike Sweeney was held out of the lineup with a sore back.