KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Royals manager Ned Yost is keeping a positive attitude when it comes to struggling right-hander Luke Hochevar.
Hochevar dropped his third consecutive decision Saturday night when the Minnesota Twins got to him for six runs in a 7-2 victory over Kansas City.
``You look at Hochevar's line and he pitched a lot better than his line would indicate,' Yost said. ``Over the course of the game they hit the ball well four times. They just placed the ball well with bunts, soft hits, swinging bunts, broken-bat grounders.
``That's no fun when they're finding holes. They frustrate you, but at the same time they're putting runs on the board. He (Hochevar) was frustrated after the game.'
Hochevar (3-6) allowed 11 hits in six-plus innings. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft is 1-5 with a 5.71 ERA in his last nine starts.
``We're not catching very many breaks,' Hochevar said. ``I don't know what to say about it. They were just getting hits in perfect spots.'
Alexi Casilla matched a career high with four hits and drove in two runs for Minnesota. He had RBI singles in the third and seventh innings to help the Twins to their third straight win, equaling a season high.
Casilla's other four-hit game was Sept. 3, 2007, against the Cleveland Indians.
``Casilla killed us,' said Jeff Francoeur, who hit a sacrifice fly in the Royals' two-run third for his 500th RBI. ``He was a pain in the rear.'
Nick Blackburn (5-4) allowed two runs and seven hits, but departed after five innings and 80 pitches with tightness in his back. Blackburn is 4-0 in his past seven starts after finishing April with four straight losses.
Five relievers held the Royals to a single over the final four innings.
The Twins pushed across two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh. Delmon Young and Danny Valencia each drove in a run in the sixth, and Ben Revere, Michael Cuddyer and Casilla had RBI singles in the seventh.
Cuddyer led off the ninth with his 19th career homer against Kansas City - his most against any club.
The Royals have lost 11 of 14 to drop a season-low eight games below .500.
NOTES: Yost said the Royals still haven't decided yet who will start Tuesday in the place of RHP Sean O'Sullivan, who went on the disabled list Friday with biceps tendinitis. ... Twins LF Brian Dinkelman had a memorable big league debut. He was hit by the first pitch he saw in the second inning. His sixth-inning single was his first hit.
The Associated Press News Service
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