Minnesota Twins postgame report: Royals earn series split with Twins
By Chris Schad
The Minnesota Twins capped off a disappointing week by falling in Sunday’s series finale against the Kansas City Royals.
The Minnesota Twins have had a tough week and on Sunday, that week saw the team take another loss as the Kansas City Royals used a big third inning to pick up a 6-1 victory on Sunday afternoon. With the defeat, the Twins fall to 50-27 on the season and endure a rare losing week after dropping two of three to the Boston Red Sox earlier in the week.
Such a result is sure to disappoint Twins fans, but the Royals have been playing better baseball over the past couple weeks and with the return of Byron Buxton coming next week, this game could be a simple bump in the road come this time next week.
Twin Takeaways – The Good
The big highlight of this game was the performance of Luis Arraez. The infielder continued his hot start to his major league career, going 4-for-4 against the Royals and raising his average to .436 this season with a 1.111 OPS. Since being called up earlier this week, Arraez has gone 8-for-15 and has brought a nice spark to the middle of the Twins infield.
In the field, Jorge Polanco made another sterling play at shortstop to bolster his All-Star resume ahead of Wednesday’s starter election. Martin Maldonado smashed a liner at 104 MPH off the bat to Polanco, who made a diving stop and flung the ball to Arraez, who threw to C.J. Cron to complete the double play.
Eddie Rosario also hit his 20th home run of the season in the loss, which gave him the team lead over Max Kepler and pushed him to fifth in the American League in that category.
Twin Takeaways – The Bad
Michael Pineda came into this start compiling a 2.70 ERA in his past 16 2/3 innings and pitched well for the most part on Sunday. A five-run third inning would get the best of the right-hander, however, as Hunter Dozier smashed a three-run homer to give the Royals a 5-0 lead that would become a springboard for the 6-1 victory.
In addition to Pineda’s bad fortunes on the mound, the Twins had issues once again with runners on base. The big blow came when Rosario came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t drive anybody in as he grounded to Whit Merrifield to end the threat. An insurance run off Mike Morin, would help ensure the Royals came away with the win.
The Twins will have a much needed off day on Monday before heading back to Target Field for a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays come into Monday’s opener with a record of 44-33 and sit five games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East.
Tampa Bay also figures to have better health than they did the last time they faced the Twins, when Minnesota took three out of four games in St. Petersberg in late May.
The opener will send Kyle Gibson (7-4, 4.18 ERA) to the mound against a pitcher to be named for the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.