The Minnesota Twins were able to out-slug the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, but the pitching staff left plenty to be desired.
As the Minnesota Twins head into the final months of the regular season, every win is going to count. With the Twins starting a ten-game homestand with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, the Twins are going to need to beat every team in front of them if they want to capture their first American League Central title since 2010.
Although it was a back-and-forth affair, the Twins were able to use their bats and a clutch outing from Sergio Romo to propel themselves over the Royals in the opener of a three-game set at Target Field on Friday night.
The positives came early for the Twins offense despite seeing Byron Buxton scratched hours before first pitch due to a bum shoulder. After Jorge Soler collected an RBI single in the top of the first inning to open the scoring, Nelson Cruz would respond with a two-run bomb for his 27th home run of the season to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Even as he was staked out to an early lead, Martin Perez would lead the negatives for the Twins. The left-hander would allow Hunter Dozier‘s 17th home run of the season and have Jorge Soler score on a balk to cut the lead down in the fourth inning and Cam Gallagher and Dozier would both homer in the top of the fifth to give Kansas City a 5-4 lead.
The game would continue to go back and forth as Cruz would drive in Kepler on an RBI double and Eddie Rosario would collect a single to give the lead back to Minnesota in the bottom of the fifth.
After the Royals tied it off an Humberto Arteaga double in the top of the sixth, the Twins would take over for good in the bottom of the seventh. Cruz would hit another RBI double, Miguel Sano would drive in a run on a single and Luis Arraez and Jason Castro would also drive in runs to build an 11-6 lead that would be too much for the Royals to overcome.
Despite the lead, the bullpen had another shaky performance as Sam Dyson had another rough night. Coming off of roughly eight hours on a plane in the past 48, Dyson would give up three runs for the second straight outing and force the Twins to use Romo with two outs in the top of the eighth inning.
The veteran right-hander would save the day for the Twins, getting out of the eighth inning and striking out two batters in the ninth to earn his 18th save of the year and preserve an 11-9 victory for Minnesota.
With the Twins lead in the American League Central remaining at three games, the Twins will take the field at 6:10 p.m. CT tomorrow night for the second game of the series. Kyle Gibson (10-4, 4.10 ERA) will look to duplicate his best start of the season against Kansas City on June 14, when he threw eight scoreless innings, allowed two hits and struck out six.
He’ll oppose Danny Duffy (5-5, 4.42 ERA), who also had one of his best starts of the season against the Twins on June 22 with three runs over eight innings.