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Royals 9, Twins 6: Not as Izzi as it looks

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The offense hung strong, but the pitching unraveled too far too quickly.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
This sign opens up a whole can of mascot lineage worms.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

It was a shaky first start back from Jake Odorizzi - and while you can’t expect him to be perfect after nearly a year without playing a game, one big inning will usually doom you.

After the Twins went down quickly in the first, Odorizzi labored his way through the home half of the inning. He hit Whit Merrifield on a full count to lead off the frame; two batters later, a double and a single would swing Merrifield around to score.

Then a rundown, then the third out...it was a prolonged effort from Jake, who would wind up throwing over 70 pitches in just three innings. Clear in the pregame that Odo would be on a pitch count, manager Rocco Baldelli had dipped into the bullpen by the fourth.

At that point, though, the Twins had a two-run lead. Jorge Soler had made it 2-0 Royals with a homer in the third, but both Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton went yard in the next half-inning — Cruz’s blast was his fourth of the season, and Byron’s three-run dinger was also a milestone. It’s the first time in his young career that he’s gone deep in three straight games.

But this was also the first time this season that the Twins have lost three straight games - and a lot of it had to do with the fourth. Lewis Thorpe was the first man out of the pen, and managed to record just six pitches before getting the hook. (Those six pitches represented two balls, a strike, a single, a two-run homer, and another single.)

The relentless Royals would add five more runs in the inning; Jorge Soler crushed another homer — a three-run jolt to match Buck’s — to make it 7-4 Kansas City. Salvador Perez would be the back end of back-to-back jacks; make it 8-4.

The Twins would load the bases in the sixth, and Byron would add another RBI to his ledger. Both teams scored in the seventh; Max Kepler homered in the top half, and the Royals Yosted their way into a post-stretch score.

(Yes, these are Mike Matheny’s Royals now, but how Yosty is this run: infield single, steal of second, steal of third, score on wild pitch. C’mon. That’s textbook #Yostball.)

Minnesota failed to put up much of a fight through the rest of the game, which ground to a near-halt and lasted almost four hours. Once again, things ended with Trevor Rosenthal striking out Nelson Cruz.

The Royals’ victory today cements a series win for them this week; the Twins’ loss makes this a losing streak of nearly 10 games...that’s how this works, right?

STUDS:

3B Marwin Gonzalez (3-for-3, R)

CF Byron Buxton (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI)

RP Jorge Alcala (2.0 IP, 4 K)

  • Alcala was the bright spot on the mound today — his innings were the only consecutive innings in which the Royals were kept off the board tonight.

DUDS:

RP Lewis Thorpe (0.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 6 P)

RP Cody Stashak (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB)

RP Sean Poppen (2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 WP)

  • Poppen’s three wild pitches could have done a lot more damage (and one was arguably a lackluster blocking attempt) but the earned run in question came shortly after the Twins closed the gap to a 2-run deficit.

ROBOT ROLL CALL:

COTG: gintzer is honest about the fan’s perspective on baseball.

Shoutouts to Joefishy, who racked up nearly four times as many comments as the next guy this evening. An extension through their arbitration period, with a potential buy-out of one or two free agency years, is rumored to be in the works.

Thanks for coming!