Clinging to a 4-1 lead, the Royals cashed in on two eighth-inning
errors by the Minnesota Twins, scoring two big insurance runs in a
6-1 win Monday at Target Field.
The Kansas City bullpen flirted with danger all night, stranding two
runners in the sixth inning and two in the seventh before Royals
shortstop Alcides Escobar put the game out of reach with his second
two-run double of the night. That made it a five-run game, and
despite the fact Minnesota stranded two runners in both the eighth
and ninth as well, the Twins never again were able to bring the
tying run to the plate.
The big hit came after a pair of throwing errors by Brian Dozier.
The Twins second baseman bounced a one-out throw to first that Joe
Mauer couldn't scoop. Two batters later, he sailed a throw high over
Mauer's head, leaving two on for Escobar, who drilled a two-base hit
into the gap in left-center field.
"That helps you win ballgames when you're able to (take advantage of
extra outs)," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "When you're not going
good, you're not capitalizing on those things. When you're playing
well, you do capitalize on mistakes. That's what we did tonight."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Dozier, "That's not like him,
and I'm sure he's frustrated."
Escobar opened the scoring in the second inning, ripping a double
off the wall in right field, knocking in two.
Second baseman Omar Infante drove in a run two innings later with an
single to make it 3-0 before the Twins were able to scratch a run
across against Royals left Danny Duffy, who faced only one batter
over the minimum through four innings.
An RBI double by shortstop Eduardo Nunez made it a 3-1 game, but
Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a solo homer in the top of the
sixth to increase the margin to three runs again.
"That was huge to get back to that three-run lead," Yost said. "It
gives us a little leeway, a little breathing room. It gives Danny
some breathing room."
After breezing through the first four innings on only 54 pitches,
Duffy allowed his only run in the fifth. He was bailed out of
further trouble in the sixth by reliever Aaron Crow, who got Twins
third baseman Trevor Plouffe to fly out to center with two on and
Duffy (5-7) lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and
two walks. He struck out three while lowering his ERA to 2.60.
"I thought he was really, really good," Yost said. "He started to
get his pitch count up there a little bit in the sixth, but man, he
was tremendous... commanding all of his pitches, ahead in the count.
I thought he pitched a great game."
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Duffy wrapped up a stellar month of June that saw him go 3-2 despite
allowing just seven runs in six starts. Since being inserted into
the rotation in early May, Duffy has allowed more than three runs
only twice in 11 starts.
"I'm starting to feel my feet under me out there," Duffy said. "Just
knowing what I can do and what I have to do, following (Perez), it's
helped me out immensely. I just need to keep it where it's at and
build off everything you do."
Minnesota stranded 11 runners and went 1-for-12 with runners in
"We've gotta figure out something to get those runs in," Twins right
fielder Chris Parmelee said. "Our pitching is working their (rear
ends) off right now."
Minnesota right-hander Yohan Pino (0-2) gave up four runs and seven
hits in 5 2/3 innings. He fanned three and walked one. Pino lost
each of his past two outings after pitching seven strong innings in
his major league debut June 19.
"I located the ball better today," Pino said. "I left the ball over
the plate to Perez, and that's it, that's the game."
NOTES: The Twins activated INFs Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Nunez
from the 15-day disabled list. Plouffe missed 14 games with soreness
in his ribs, and Nunez was also out 14 games with a strained
hamstring. ... To make room on the 25-man roster, Minnesota sent INF
Pedro Florimon back to Triple-A Rochester and INF Jorge Polanco to
Class A Fort Myers. ... The Royals signed veteran OF/DH Raul Ibanez
to a big league contract prior to the game. He was released by the
Los Angeles Angels on June 21 after hitting .157 with three homers
in 57 games. ... Kansas City called up INF Christian Colon from
Triple-A Omaha, where he was hitting .296 with four homers and a
.360 on-base percentage. ... The Royals designated OF Justin Maxwell
and INF Pedro Ciriaco for assignment.
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