While Michael Pineda pitched four good innings of baseball, he unfortunately pitched five innings in total.
That one fateful third inning dropped a Sunday afternoon 6-1 loss into the Twins’ laps as they split the 4-game series in Kansas City.
Five consecutive Royals strung together hits in the third, and all crossed the plate. With one out, Billy Hamilton singled, advanced to third on a Whit Merrifield hit-and-run, and scored when Nicky Lopez pushed a bunt past Pineda for another single. After Alex Gordon doubled Merrifield home, Hunter “not Brian” Dozier held Shift and pressed 1 to place an exclamation point on the inning, socking a three-run home run to complete the inning’s scoring.
The Twins responded immediately in the fourth when Eddie Rosario lofted a solo dinger just over the right field fence inside the foul pole, his first home run since June 9. Minnesota had the chance to close the gap further after Luis Arraez (who went 4 for 4!) doubled and Miguel Sano walked with one out, but Jason Castro struck out and Jake Cave bounced a grounder to Lopez at second.
While their bats were mostly quieted against starter Homer Bailey (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER), the Twins had another chance to get back into the game in the seventh, during which Jorge Polanco extended his streak of reaching base to 36 games with a single. After loading the bases with two outs, Rosario grounded into a force at second.
Naturally, the Royals would score in the bottom of the inning when Gordon smacked another double, bringing in Lopez.
Minnesota heads into a Monday off day, their first in two weeks, before beginning a three-game series at home against the Rays Tuesday night.
ST. PAUL STUDS:
- Luis Arráez: 4-4
- Jorge Polanco: 2-5, six assists
- Max Kepler, 2-5
- Eddie Rosario: 1-4, HR
- both teams’ throwback uniforms: extremely sharp
- all other Twins batters: 0-18, 7 Ks
- Michael Pineda: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 HR
ROYAL (sigh) ROLL CALL:
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