Pablo Lopez lifts Twins past Royals 2-0

Pablo Lopez and four relievers combined on an Opening Day two-hitter as the visiting Minnesota Twins blanked the Kansas City Royals 2-0 on Thursday.

Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach and Christian Vazquez each had two hits for Minnesota, which spoiled the managerial debut of Kansas City’s Matt Quatraro and won its season opener for the first time since 2020.

Lopez (1-0) made a strong first impression with his new club after being acquired from the Miami Marlins during the offseason. The right-hander tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts while throwing 50 of his 85 pitches for strikes.

Cabel Thielbar, Jorge Lopez and Griffin Jax did not allow a hit over the next 2 2/3 innings before Jhoan Duran worked around a one-out walk in the ninth for the save.

Minnesota broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the sixth inning. Buxton hit a leadoff triple to right-center field off Zack Greinke (0-1) and scored on Larnach’s single to center.

After Jose Miranda flied out, Amir Garrett replaced Greinke and walked Kyle Farmer. Pinch-hitter Donovan Solano then singled to left field, allowing Larnach to score from second.

Vazquez followed with a one-out single to load the bases before Garrett struck out Michael A. Taylor and retired Max Kepler on a liner to right field to strand the bases loaded.

Greinke, who was making his third Opening Day start with the Royals, allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.

Kansas City’s best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the fifth, when Lopez walked Bobby Witt Jr. to load the bases with one out. MJ Melendez then grounded into double play to end the inning.

The Royals were held without a hit until Salvador Perez singled with one out in the fourth inning. Lopez’s eight strikeouts tied for the second-most by a Twins starter on Opening Day.

The Twins threatened to score early when Greinke walked Miranda to load the bases with two outs in the first inning. Greinke escaped unscathed after Nick Gordon grounded out to second.


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