Joakim Soria returned to his All-Star closing form for the Kansas City Royals, getting the last five outs in a 10-7 victory in 11 innings over the Minnesota Twins on a sloppy Saturday night for both sides.
Soria (1-0) made his first appearance in 10 games after sitting out to rest a sore shoulder. He sandwiched the last two outs of the 10th around a wild pitch that let a runner advance to third and gave up a one-out single to Joe Mauer in the 11th, but beyond that Soria was flawless.
Minnesota's bullpen was far from it.
Craig Breslow (0-1) walked the bases loaded in the 11th, getting only one out and only seven of 21 pitches in the strike zone. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey came in — and walked John Buck to force in the go-ahead run. Another one scored when Alberto Callaspo hit a fielder's choice grounder, and Kansas City stretched the lead to three on a sinking single by David DeJesus that left fielder Denard Span couldn't quite catch.
It was a fitting end to a back-and-forth, mistake-filled night.
Mauer had four more hits for Minnesota, including an RBI double with two out in the fifth, and has been on base seven times since returning from the disabled list.
There were so many mistakes made in the field, on the mound and around the bases by each team that by the extra innings all the haphazardness on both sides seemed to have already blended into the background. Whether with a clutch hit, a bad pitch or a dangerous play, each team quickly matched the other.
Miguel Olivo drove in three runs for Kansas City and sent a two-out grounder in the eighth toward Minnesota second baseman Alexi Casilla, who mishandled the ball for an error that gave the Royals a 7-6 lead.
Then Delmon Young, who drove in two runs for the Twins, tied the game with a single against reliever Juan Cruz in the bottom of that inning. Cruz began with a walk to Michael Cuddyer, who moved up on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Willie Bloomquist's first homer in nearly two years tied the game at 3 in the fifth against Minnesota starter Glen Perkins. Cuddyer went deep to start the sixth and give the Twins a short-lived 6-5 advantage.
Kansas City starter Brian Bannister labored through 5 1-3 innings and finished with a Sudoku-like line: eight hits, six runs, three earned runs, two walks, and four strikeouts. Bad defense behind him was to blame for a three-run second.
Shortstop Mike Aviles made an error with a wide throw that let the leadoff man reach, and center fielder Coco Crisp tried to get Cuddyer going from first to third on a throw that sailed all the way into the home team's dugout.
Manager Ron Gardenhire scurried out of his seat with his hands protecting his head, Cuddyer scored, and Young took third and positioned himself to score soon after.