Dozier’s return helps Royals complete sweep of Twins
Hunter Dozier hit a two-run single in his first at-bat since testing positive for COVID-19, prized prospect Brady Singer earned his first major league win and the Kansas City Royals swept the Minnesota Twins 4-2 Sunday.
The Royals won their fourth in a row overall. The Twins lost all three at Kauffman Stadium and have dropped four straight.
Dozier, who hit 26 home runs last year and tied for the big league lead with 10 triples, hadn't played this season while recovering from the virus. He quickly delivered, putting the Royals ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
"Each guy just keeps getting better and I'm really impressed," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "Dozier was in here pretty early today and we are happy he is back."
Singer (1-1) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. A 24-year-old righty, the Royals' first-round draft pick in 2018 struck out four and walked two in his fourth start in the majors.
"I'm really happy about it, but hopefully it's just the start," Singer said. "I felt good the whole outing and my body felt strong."
The Kansas City bullpen threw four shutout innings, striking out six and allowing just two hits. After Greg Holland and Josh Staumont blanked the Twins, Scott Barlow closed for his first save.
"We're always ready to go," Staumont said. "We've been fighting so the clubhouse was negative, but we knew we needed to change it."
Jose Berrios (1-2) went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs. He allowed Maikel Franco's leadoff homer in the sixth.
A wild pickoff throw by Singer helped the Twins score twice in the third, keyed by Max Kepler's RBI double.
"In general, the offense is probably a little flat," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Why that is, couldn't give you an exact answer. But I think that's probably a point of emphasis and something we can focus on."
Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly in the Royals third for a 3-2 lead.
One of these days, Matheny hopes to see Jorge Soler smile when he trots around the bases.
It didn't happen after either of Soler's two homers Saturday night.
Maybe if he didn't just miss on another one that was caught at the warning track.
The slugging outfielder's big power output included a three-run shot during ago-ahead six-run fourth inning, when Nicky Lopez and Salvador Perez also went deep, and helped to push Kansas City to a 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins that clinched its first winning series against the AL Central rivals since September 2018.
“It's my goal to get him to smile one time when he comes around. That has to be fun to be able to do that,” Matheny said of Soler. “I'm sure he must be smiling on the inside.”
Soler and Perez went back-to-back for the second time this season, and it was the first time the Royals hit three homers in an inning since Aug. 19, 2018, against the White Sox. Lopez's two-run shot came off Lewis Thorpe (0-1) and tied the game.
Tyler Zuber (1-1) earned the win in relief of Danny Duffy. Trevor Rosenthal got four outs for his second straight save.
“The bullpen once again came in and did a fantastic job for us,” Matheny said, “but that inning where we give up four and we come right back and take six, that's special, and that sort of thing can carry a club for a while, knowing you have that kind of talent and that kind of ability. The three home runs are huge right there.”
Royals: OF Franchy Cordero was placed on the IL (right wrist sprain) and Dozier was reinstated.
Royals: LHP Kris Bubic makes his third start of the season and his career, facing Cincinnati on Tuesday night.