Twins top Royals to even season series
Nelson Cruz hit his 10th homer, Marwin Gonzalez had two RBIs and closer Taylor Rogers dodged trouble in the ninth inning to lift the Minnesota Twins over the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Sunday.
Cruz connected on closer Trevor Rosenthal's 99 mph fastball for a solo shot that went an estimated 441 feet to center field in the ninth inning. The drive gave Minnesota a two-run lead and helped the Twins win their eighth series in nine tries this season.
The teams split the season series 5-5.
"You definitely have to be straight to the ball," Cruz said. "We know that he throws hard and he has some good breaking balls."
Max Wisler opened with two scoreless innings for Minnesota and Tyler Clippard (1-0) got the win with a perfect eighth. Rogers allowed an RBI single to Maikel Franco in the ninth but retired Alex Gordon to complete his sixth save.
"Our guys dealt with very high stress situations time and time again today," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "There was nothing that came easy for either team. Even though the score didn't change a ton, there was a lot going on."
Kansas City also had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning, but Adalberto Mondesi struck out against Sergio Romo. The Royals are 2 for 21 with the bases loaded this season.
"It comes down to those situations and those are opportunities we are going to get it done, but frustrating not to have done it yet," Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
Kris Bubic (0-4), the Royals' 2018 first-round pick, allowed four runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. He's yet to get a win in any of his five big league starts.
"The results haven't looked great, but I'm just going to keep learning," Bubic said. "Hopefully next year I'll laugh about outings like this one."
Minnesota's Miguel Sano scored Max Kepler on an RBI double to right-center to plate the first run of the game, and Eddie Rosario scored Sano on an RBI single the next at-bat to lead 2-0.
After three straight singles in the third by Cruz, Sano and Rosario – two of which didn't leave the infield – Gonzalez scored two with a double to left field to extend the score to 4-0.
The Royals responded right away when Meibrys Viloria walked, Hunter Dozier doubled for one of his career-high four hits, which was then followed by a double by Jorge Soler, which scored both runners to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
With two outs in the seventh, Dozier singled, Soler walked and Franco hit an RBI single off Gonzalez's glove at third to cut the lead to 4-3 before Mondesi's strikeout.
Royals: RHP Jake Newberry was optioned after Saturday's game and RHP Chance Adams was recalled.
Twins: Clippard was hit in the right arm by a line drive on the third out of the eighth inning. Manager Rocco Baldelli said imaging didn't show a serious injury, but he anticipates shutting Clippard down from throwing for some amount of time.
Royals: RHP Danny Duffy might get a few extra days before his next start. Although no official injury has been reported, manager Mike Matheny said he'd like all his guys to be rested as they gear up for 20 games in the next 21 days.
Royals: Travel to St. Louis for a three-game series starting Monday night. RHP Brad Keller (3-0, 0.00) faces Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (1-0, 3.12).
Twins: Start a three-game series on the road against Cleveland on Monday night. RHP Kenta Maeda (3-0, 2.27) took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of his last start against Milwaukee. He'll face RHP Aaron Civale (3-2, 2.91), who pitched his first career complete game against Pittsburgh last week.
The Twins' Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano have seen Royals starter Brady Singer three times in the last three weeks.
They must have learned how to hit him hard.
Rosario hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Sano sent a pitch an estimated 458 feet off the home team's Hall of Fame in left field, and Minnesota beat Kansas City 7-2 on Saturday night.
"When we see pitchers like that back-to-back, we study them and we just try to go out there and execute against them," Rosario said. "As a team, we showed tonight we can do damage when we get pitchers like that."
Randy Dobnak (5-1) pitched five innings of two-run ball, continuing his brilliant start to the season. The former undrafted free agent, who just three years ago was pitching for the independent Utica Unicorns, gave up a homer to Alex Gordon but otherwise kept dodging trouble on a hot, humid night at Kauffman Stadium.
Singer (1-3) allowed four runs and six hits in four innings while trying to flummox a team already familiar with him.
"They had a good game plan against him, coming right out of the box swinging well," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've all been talking about this for several days. He was going to face them three times and would he mix it up enough to keep them off balance a third time? That's definitely a challenge but that's how the schedule lined up."
ROYALS WIN OPENER
The Royals knew they would need somebody to step up when Salvador Perez went on the injured list earlier Friday with a mysterious eye ailment that had caused the star catcher to have some blurry vision.
Well, Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier certainly left the Twins seeing red.
Soler hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run first inning, Dozier went deep for the third straight game against Minnesota, and the two young sluggers helped Kansas City cruise to a 7-2 victory Friday night.
"We talked about his before game. We have to have a couple guys step up," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "Every time you lose somebody it creates an opportunity."
It also created an easy night for Danny Duffy (2-2), who pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and then suddenly found himself with a 4-0 lead. Duffy wound up needing 81 pitches to get through five, but he permitted just four hits and a pair of walks while striking out six. The only run he allowed came on Ehire Adrianza's groundout with a runner on third.
"Fastball command, was able to throw some sinkers in there that moved a lot. Curveball was good. The slider was the best it has been all year," said Duffy, who also happened to punch out a handful of Twins with his changeup.