MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Vin Mazzaro entered the game against Minnesota on Tuesday night in the toughest of situations - bases loaded, nobody out with the Kansas City Royals down 3-2.
Manager Ned Yost was hoping Mazzaro, who has been used more as a starter than a reliever this season, would be able to use his slider to wiggle out of the jam. But Mazzaro gave Rene Tosoni a fastball on his first pitch, and paid for it.
Tosoni hit a grand slam and Chris Parmelee also went deep to lift the Twins to a 7-4 victory over the Royals.
"That's the first time I've come in in a situation like that," said Mazzaro, who turned 25 on Tuesday. "Yeah, it's different, but you just got to in there, keep the same mentality as a starter and go in there and attack the zone. Unfortunately, he jumped the first pitch and got good wood on it."
Mazzaro settled down after that, allowing one run on two hits in the final three innings. But the damage was already done.
"We were willing to concede one there and hopefully get a double play," Yost said. "They set up down and away and the ball came back middle in. he put a good swing on it. Besides that Vinny threw the ball really, really well."
The setback slightly stunted some nice momentum the Royals had been building as the season comes to a close. They had won 11 of their previous 14 games, getting promising performances from a bevy of highly touted youngsters including Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.
Sean O'Sullivan (2-6) gave up six runs on nine hits with one strikeout in five innings for the Royals. Johnny Giavotella had two doubles and a triple and Salvador Perez added two hits and an RBI for Kansas City.
Anthony Swarzak (4-7) gave up two runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts in 61â„3 innings for the Twins (62-99), who are hoping to avoid becoming just the second team in franchise history to lose 100 games in a season.
"We want to win tomorrow and stay away from that stuff," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
O'Sullivan pitched well in the first five innings before giving up three straight singles to start the sixth. Tosoni hit Mazzaro's first pitch well into the right field seats for a 7-2 lead.
"It felt pretty good off the bat," Tosoni said with a chuckle.