In the game thread, I alluded to the last time the Twins faced Royals SP Luis Mendoza, where he gave up just 1 earned run over 8 innings in beating the Twins at Target Field. It was nearly the same story here tonight, as he allowed only 3 runs in 6 1/3 innings as the Royals prevented the Twins from supplanting them from 4th place in the AL Central.
Diamond gave up 4 runs in 6 innings, but it easily could have been much worse if not for some double plays. Diamond induced 4 of them, 3 of which came off grounders. It's clear that he wasn't sharp, as he also allowed 10 hits and 2 walks.
After falling into an early 2-0 deficit thanks to single runs in the first two innings, the Twins did tie the score up in the 4th. Ben Revere led off with a triple down the right field line, showing off his speed on a grounder to the strong-armed Jeff Franceour that didn't even come close to making it into the right field corner. Joe Mauer knocked Revere in with a ground out, and then Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit followed with singles. Chris Parmelee drove in the tying run with a force out, though Doumit should be credited with an assist as his hard slide caused second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt to double-clutch before throwing the ball to first on a double play attempt.
However, the Royals took the lead back in the bottom of the 5th, when Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI single, driving in Alex Gordon from 3rd base. Mike Moustakas later reached on a fielding error by Parmelee that likely could have resulted in a double play, scoring Alcides Escobar. But, as mentioned earlier, Scott Diamond avoided further trouble when Franceour lined into a double play.
The Twins would cut the lead to 4-3 after an RBI double by Jamey Carroll in the top of the 7th, but that was as close as they would get. An odd play in the inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd helped quash the rally (read this for details on what happened, and how the umpires got the call wrong), and Jeff Gray and Brian Duensing combined to allow 3 runs in the late innings to put the game out of reach for good.
Chris Parmelee (2 for 4, RBI, R)
Denard Span (0 for 4, 2 K), Brian Dozier (0 for 4, K), Brian Duensing (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, though see below)
- The Royals had 16 hits. All those double plays and only 3 extra-base hits (all doubles) were the main reasons why they didn't score more than 7 runs.
- The two teams combined for 8 double plays, 5 turned by the Twins and 3 for the Royals. Of those 5 double plays, 2 involved a Royal being doubled off 2nd base after a line out.
- Denard Span left the game in the bottom of the 8th inning, being replaced by Darin Mastroianni. Many people on Twitter speculated that Span had just been traded, but after the game, it was announced that Span was just feeling sick from the heat.
- Although Brian Duensing gave up 2 ER in less than an inning pitched, he suffered some terrible luck. In the bottom of the 8th inning, leadoff hitter Jeff Franceour hit a grounder up the middle that went off Brian Dozier's glove. Dozier didn't hustle after the ball in center field, and although the ball remained directly in front of Ben Revere in CF, he wasn't able to get to the ball fast enough to prevent Franceour from getting a double. After Eric Hosmer grounded out to 1st, Yuniesky Betancourt chopped a grounder over a drawn-in Jamey Carroll at 3rd, getting an RBI double in the process. Duensing fired a wild pitch next, and then Alex Gordon blooped a broken-bat single over Dozier's head.