The Minnesota Twins had plenty of opportunities to take the series finale with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, but couldn’t get the big hit in an 8-6 loss.
The Minnesota Twins were looking to cap off Joe Mauer weekend with a series sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday after taking the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday evening. Even though the Twins had plenty of opportunities to come away with the victory, they couldn’t come away with the big hit they needed and took an 8-6 loss to the Royals.
Despite the loss, the Twins will remain in firm control of the American League Central after taking two out of three games from Kanasas City over the weekend. The Twins now sit at 47-23, but still own a 10-game lead in the division even after the Cleveland Indians picked up an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Twin Takeaways – The Good
Even though the Twins took a loss, there were several good things to come out of this game. One of the biggest storylines was the bounce back effort of Martin Perez. Perez came into this start unable to break into the sixth inning in five of his past six starts and posted a 5.59 ERA in that stretch.
Despite the Royals putting three runs on the board in the second inning, Perez still pitched well, throwing 6 2/3 innings allowing four earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven. Such an outing is one that the 28-year old can use to get back on track for his next start.
Max Kepler also had a great game for the Twins, picking up four hits on the afternoon. Included in the effort was a pair of RBI doubles that helped the Twins claw into the Royals’ early lead in the fourth inning and another with two-outs in the ninth inning. The four-hit game brought Kepler’s OPS up to .917 on the season as he continues to have a strong rebound season from a disappointing 2018.
Twin Takeaways – The Bad
A key reason for the Twins’ downfall on Sunday afternoon, was their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Minnesota would leave 15 batters on base against the Royals and that included a pair of failed rallies in the eighth and ninth inning that saw the tying and game-winning runs get to the plate, but a Marwin Gonzalez pop up and a Cruz strikeout would extinguish the rallies to help give Kansas City the win.
Said rallies wouldn’t have been needed had the Twins been able to play solid defense. For the second time this home stand, the Twins’ defense would let them down as errors by Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano would allow the Royals to score two runs in the top of the seventh and an error by Mike Morin would lead to three more in the top of the eighth to provide the cushion to seal the Twins’ fate.
The Twins will have little time to dwell on this loss as they open a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Monday night. The Red Sox sit at a disappointing 39-34 and are in third place in the American League East, but are riding a five-game winning streak with the latest installment coming in an 8-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
The Twins will throw their ace Jose Berrios (8-2, 3.01 ERA) on the mound in the opener while the Red Sox will counter with Rick Porcello (4-6, 4.69 ERA). The first game of the series will take place at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field.