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MINNEAPOLIS -- After adding Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes in the off-season, the Twins expected their rotation to be better. Instead, the offence has been the biggest turnaround for Minnesota. Joe Mauer hit his first home run of the season, Brian Dozier connected for his fourth and Nolasco earned his initial win with the Twins in a 7-1 victory Saturday over the Kansas City Royals. "I feel like, one through nine, everybody today had at least three hard-hit balls each, and thats a tell-tale sign an offence is clicking," said Dozier, who tied for the AL lead in homers. "Been doing that for the past week now, so everything is starting to click as a team right now." A day after getting his first RBI of the year, Mauer hit a three-run shot against starter James Shields (0-2). Dozier had a leadoff homer for Minnesota, which has scored the second-most runs in the American League. Nolasco (1-1) showed why the Twins signed him to a $49 million, four-year contract to steady their rotation. The right-hander gave up five runs in each of his first two outings for his new team, but was on top of his game Saturday in his first home start for Minnesota. Nolasco went eight innings and allowed five hits with four strikeouts. "I wish I could say Im going to go eight every time," Nolasco said. "This level is very difficult and you can never count yourself out no matter how good or bad youre doing. I had two bad starts, but my mentality is still like I could do something like today." While the rotation was addressed in the off-season, it was Minnesotas lineup that figured to keep the Twins near the bottom of the AL Central again. Instead, Dozier has been a power source in the leadoff spot, and Minnesota has received big production from a middle of the order that includes Trevor Plouffe, Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel. Making the transition full-time to first base this season, Mauer was slow to come around with the bat. Kansas Citys first trip to Minnesota was the perfect remedy, though. In his career, Mauer has hit .338 against the Royals with 11 homers and 95 RBIs. Hes also hit .350 (12 for 37) against Shields. "When its all said and done his numbers are going to be there," acting Twins manager Terry Steinbach said. "Hes a professional hitter, a great hitter, and just over the course of time its going to happen. It was good to see him connect with one and get that ball out of the ballpark." Shields put Kansas City in an early hole again. The Royals had seven quality starts in their first eight games, but Bruce Chen allowed two first-inning runs Friday night and only went 3 2-3 innings. Shields gave up a home run to Dozier on his fourth pitch and Minnesota added six runs in the second. Shields was undone by the defence, including his own. None of the runs in the second were earned because Shields misplayed a sacrifice bunt by Kurt Suzuki, with the ball slipping out of his hand for an error as the pitcher tried to throw to third base. Shields then walked No. 8 hitter Aaron Hicks with the bases loaded. Later, third baseman Mike Moustakas couldnt handle a hard-hit grounder by Dozier that deflected into left field for an error, allowing two runs to score. Mauer followed Moustakas error with a three-run homer, his first since Aug. 16 last season. "Even though it was a 3-2 count, I was trying to go changeup down and away," Shields said. "Hes a pretty good hitter. Hes going to hit that every time." Shields yielded seven runs -- one earned -- in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up six hits and walked three while striking out five. NOTES: Steinbach filled in for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire the past two games while Gardenhire attended the funeral for Michael Hirschbeck in Ohio. Hirschbeck, the son of umpire John Hirschbeck, died Tuesday at age 27. Gardenhire is expected back for Sundays game. ... Kansas City recalled LHP Danny Duffy from Triple-A Omaha to pitch out of the bullpen. Duffy, who was in the mix for a rotation spot this spring, is the only healthy left-hander in the bullpen. The Royals optioned 2B Johnny Giavotella to Omaha. ... Minnesota put LF Josh Willingham on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left wrist. Willingham was set to have an MRI later Saturday. The move was made retroactive to Monday, and the team hopes hell be ready to return when eligible. The Twins recalled RHP Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester. ... Minnesota assistant general manager Rob Antony said SS Jason Bartlett will travel to Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday to begin rehabilitating a left ankle injury. Bartlett was placed on the disabled list Monday. ... Twins RHP Kevin Correia (0-1, 6.17 ERA) pitches Sunday against LHP Jason Vargas (1-0, 1.20). Oren Burks Super Bowl Jersey . Terry came from Boston along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but has appeared in just 35 games after a knee injury, averaging 4.5 points on 36 per cent shooting. Evans was a favourite of fans but not coach Jason Kidd, who used him in just 30 of their 51 games. Billy Turner Super Bowl Jersey . LOUIS - The St. http://www.officialgreenbaypackerspro.com/Preston-smith-packers-jersey/ . -- Each time the Utah Jazz threatened Memphis lead, the Grizzlies responded with defensive stops. Jamaal Williams Super Bowl Jersey . Thaddeus Young scored seven of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Evan Turner added 22 points, and the 76ers hung on for their first road win since Nov. 1, beating the depleted Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 on Sunday night. Mason Crosby Super Bowl Jersey .The Canadian teenage golf sensation announced Thursday shell join the LPGA Tour in 2015 instead of attending the University of Florida.Until last week, a Montreal Impact-Chivas USA matchup might have been a meaningless game between Major League Soccer doormats. But both clubs have sprung to life of late, with Montreal (3-7-5) coming off a draw and a win and Chivas (4-7-5) posting consecutive 1-0 victories over Salt Lake and San Jose. Both will be looking to keep their runs alive when they meet Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. "Its never easy on the road," Impact coach Frank Klopas said this week. "Theres so much parity in the league, you cant underestimate anyone. Itll be a difficult game. "If you relax when you get a couple of good results, then you have problems. Were a good team when we work hard and were focused. We cant forget that." Anyone underestimating the Goats lately has been badly mistaken. Red-hot Erick Torres scored the goals in victories last Saturday against Salt Lake and on Wednesday at San Jose, giving Chivas consecutive wins for the first time this season and pulling them out of last place in the West, ahead of San Jose. The 21-year-old Mexican has 11 goals, one fewer than MLS leader Bradley Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls. The Impact and Chivas have each scored 16 goals and allowed 26 this season, although Montreal has played one fewer game. Montreal returned from the two-week World Cup break last week with a 0-0 draw in Vancouver with an injury-depleted roster. Then, with midfielders Felipe and Justin Mapp and forward Marco Di Vaio back in the lineup, followed with a 3-0 victory at home on Saturday against the struggling Houston Dynamo. Striker Jack McInerney scored twice against Houston to give him seven for the season and earn MLS player of the week honours. "Its good for my confidence," said McInerney, who has nine goals in all competitions since he was acquired in April from Philadelphia for forward Andrew Wenger. "It comes from the team doing well." The Impact hope to take that new-found confidence with them. "Two good results and we have the opportunity to go out west again and face a team that has struggled this year also," added McInerney. "Its a big game. We need the three points. Weve got to be consistent and keep getting results.&" The mood has brightened noticeably in the Impact camp after a gloomy start to the season under Klopas, who replaced Marco Schallibaum in the off-season.dddddddddddd A whirl of player moves has seen Wenger, Collen Warner, Jeb Brovsky and Hernan Bernardello leave and McInerney, midfielders Gorka Larrea and Issey Nakajima-Farran (currently injured), and defender Mamadou (Futty) Danso come in. They also have Spanish defender Adrian Lopez back from knee surgery. And this week, they announced that Argentine attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti will join the team in August as a designated player. Klopas has the option of using Lopez or Danso this week, although he may be loathe to break up the central defence partnership of Matteo Ferrari and Heath Pearce that has been solid the last two games. The moves have given the Impact extra depth, which they will need when CONCACAF Champions League play begins in August. "Were disappointed with the start of our season, but we feel we can turn it around," said sporting director Nick De Santis. "Whether it be winning the Canadian championship, which was one of our objectives, or beating Houston, there are glimpses of positive things. "We feel with the addition of a couple of players, with players coming back from injury and with Piatti coming in, that the teams going to keep growing. I truly believe that. We have to understand that a new coach is in place and his identity and philosophy of play takes time as well." Klopas doesnt hesitate to use the teams young, local products, particularly Maxim Tissot who started the last two games on the left side of midfield. The team added another homegrown player from its academy this week in midfielder Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare. The Impact are starting a stretch that sees them on the road for three of the next four games. They are back home next week against Kansas City, which will mark the midpoint of their 34-game league schedule, then travel to Columbus and Salt Lake. The schedule for CONCACAF play released Friday has the Impact at home Aug. 5 against Club Deportivo FAS of El Salvador and at San Salvador on Aug. 20. They complete Group C play at home Sept. 17 against the Red Bulls and Oct. 22 in New York. ' ' '
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