MINNEAPOLIS -- Ricky Nolasco hung the four-seam fastball up in the zone, and Royals catcher Salvador Perez made him pay with a line-drive double to right field.
The gate had been opened early, this time in the second inning at Target Field. But unlike his first two starts in a Twins uniform, Nolasco responded rather than regressed.
After all, he's been through this before during his seven-year major-league career -- a couple bad starts here, a slump there, a meatball offering that means extra bases in a game-turning scenario somewhere in between.
But to stick in the majors this long and earn a lucrative contract like the four-year, $49 million one he inked with Minnesota in the offseason requires a move-on mentality.
"You can never count yourself out, no matter how bad you're doing," Nolasco said. "It's huge. Sometimes, if you do that, you're gonna beat yourself before the game even starts."
At the first sign of trouble Saturday, Nolasco didn't, coaxing a foul-territory pop out from...