Cuddyer, Hunter hit homers as Twins smash Royals

Royal flush: Santana (12-9) improved to 12-3 in 18 career starts against K.C., allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two for the Twins, who hadn't scored more than five runs since July 20.

Turning point: Cuddyer sparked the Twins' five-run third inning with a titanic solo shot to left and Joe Mauer drove in another run with a sacrifice fly. Mike Redmond punctuated the scoring with an RBI single.

Figure this: Cuddyer's 442-foot shot off Odalis Perez was the first for Minnesota since July 31 and snapped a span of 242 plate appearances that had left the Twins as the only team without an August homer.

Quotable: "We needed a big offensive outburst. If we'd won 1-0 or something like that, it wouldn't have given us the relief that we got tonight." -- Cuddyer

-- ESPN.com news services

Twins 11, Royals 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The last major league team to hit an August home run was ready to make up for lost time.

Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter each homered and drove in three runs to help jolt Minnesota out of a long offensive slump Wednesday night, and Johan Santana won his ninth straight decision against Kansas City with an 11-4 romp.

Every starter hit safely in the 19-hit attack for the Twins, who had scored more than one run in an inning only once in 55 frames. The Twins had failed to score more than five runs in 16 straight games.

"It's what we needed. We needed a big offensive outburst," said Cuddyer, whose towering two-run shot keyed a five-run third. "If we'd won 1-0 or something like that, it wouldn't have given us the relief that we got tonight."

Cuddyer's 442-foot shot off Odalis Perez was the first for Minnesota since Hunter went deep on July 31, a span of 242 plate appearances that had left the Twins as the only major league team without an August homer. Cuddyer also had an RBI single.

Hunter had a two-run shot off Ryan Braun in the fifth, an RBI single in the sixth and a double in the eighth, leaving him only a triple away from the cycle.

"Cycle?" he said with a big smile. "I wasn't even thinking about the cycle. We were just out there trying to make something happen. We've been struggling but today was a good day. It felt good."

Mike Redmond tied a career-high with four singles and Justin Morneau, who snapped an 0-for-17 skid with two doubles the night before, had a home run taken away by umpires but still wound up with two more doubles.

Santana (12-9) went six innings and is 9-0 in his last 12 starts and 12-3 lifetime against Kansas City. The left-hander gave up two runs and eight hits, with two walks and six strikeouts while raising his career mark in August to 22-5. A split nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand probably kept him from going another inning.

"We've got to let it heal a little bit. But other than that, I feel good," he said. "We'll be ready for my next start."

The nail problem is nothing new.

"It happens most of the times. Right now it's way better than what it was a couple of weeks ago," he said. "It's a little sore. But we'll do some treatment, put some stuff on it and it'll be fine."

Morneau doubled into right-center and scored on a single in the third by Redmond. Then Morneau's drive in the fifth hit the edge of the top of the fence in left-center and bounced back onto the field.

He was awarded a home run at first. But Royals manager Buddy Bell argued and after umpires conferred for several minutes, Morneau was returned to second with a double.

When play finally resumed, Hunter hit Braun's next pitch for his 23rd home run.

Morneau was thrown out by center fielder David DeJesus in the sixth trying to stretch a single into what would have been his fifth double in two games.

Minnesota batted around and scored five runs off Perez (6-11) in the third after scoring more than one run only once in its previous 55 innings. Perez lasted only three innings and was charged with six runs -- three earned -- on seven hits. He had one walk and no strikeouts and left with what the Royals described as leg soreness.

"I wasn't able to concentrate," he said. "I wasn't hitting my spots. This heat slows my body down and I lose a lot of pounds. I didn't want to come out of the game."

The Twins' six hits in the inning tied a season high, and the five runs were the most they've scored in an inning since plating six in the seventh inning of a 12-0 victory over the White Sox in the second game of a July 6 doubleheader.

The Royals got two off Santana in the sixth on Emil Brown's run-scoring double and John Buck's infield single. Buck doubled home a run off Ramon Ortiz in the eighth.

Nick Punto laid down a sacrifice bunt and third baseman Esteban German threw wildly to first, allowing Alexi Casilla to score from second with the first run of the third. Jason Bartlett went from first to third and after Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly, Cuddyer slammed a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left.

Game notes
Mauer had two RBIs for the Twins, who had gone 16 straight games without scoring more than five runs. ... Santana hasn't lost to the Royals since May 29, 2004. ... The Royals still have not signed California high school power-hitter Mike Moustakas, the overall No. 2 pick in the June draft. General manager Dayton Moore said he remained optimistic a deal would get done by the Aug. 15 deadline.