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Twins 8, Royals 4: Twins' offense comes through in the clutch

The Twins offense finally came through in the late innings of a close game

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
We see you, C4. Carlos Correa was one of a few heroes for the Twins in Monday night’s win.
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins may have waited until the late innings to break through against an inferior team, but, it finally happened.

The Kansas City Royals, who came into the game with a horrifying 25-69 record, took an immediate lead as Maikel Garcia lifted the very first offering from Joe Ryan over the fence in right field. Ryan settled down quickly, getting the next two outs on strikeouts and getting out of the first inning by retiring the next three batters in order.

The Twins responded quickly, as new leadoff man Carlos Correa laced the first pitch from Royals starter Austin Cox for a double. Donovan Solano singled, and Byron Buxton came through with a sinking line drive that turned into a sacrifice fly that tied the game before Kyle Farmer rapped into an inning-ending double play.

The score remained the same until the top of the third inning, when Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. singled with two outs, stole second, and scored on a Nick Pratto single.

The Twins, for their part, managed a baserunner in each inning but failed to score again until the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Max Kepler and Correa each singled and Solano walked to load the bases. Buxton crushed a ball to the warning track in straightaway center field, driving in the tying run.

Minnesota had a chance to jump ahead in the sixth. Willi Castro walked and stole second base with nobody out, but pinch-hitter Joey Gallo struck out, Christian Vazquez grounded out, and Michael A. Taylor lined out to center field to end the threat.

On the other side of things, Ryan got through six innings while only allowing two earned runs, scattering six hits and a walk while striking out nine Royals batters. Jovani Moran came on to get the first two outs of the top of the seventh before walking Garcia. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli inserted Jordan Balazovic into a high-leverage situation and he didn’t disappoint, coaxing a flyout from Witt Jr.

With the Twins still up one in the eighth, Brent Headrick came on to pitch for the Twins and immediately allowed a game-tying home run to Pratto on an 0-2 pitch that he left up and out over the plate. Headrick then struck out two of the next three batters to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Edouard Julien pinch-hit for Farmer and crushed a first-pitch fastball from Taylor Clarke for a go-ahead home run. After a flyout from Castro, Gallo coaxed a walk and Vazquez singled, putting runners on the corners with one out. Michael A. Taylor came up and executed a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Gallo from third and reaching first safely himself. Kepler, Correa, and Kirilloff all followed with singles of their own, and the Twins took an 8-3 lead into the ninth inning.

Emilio Pagán came on for the Twins and allowed a pair of two-out hits and a walk but ultimately only gave up a single run and the Twins came away with the 8-4 win.


  • How often have we been able to say that the Twins put together clutch at-bats, either late in a close game or really, in any situation with runners in scoring position? The answer is ... not often. Not often at all. In this one, the Twins had a pair of seemingly modest wins in Buxton sac flies, but then eventually the floodgates opened in the eighth.
  • This was a “B” bullpen game for a variety of reasons, but save for the home run allowed by Headrick and the brief hiccup from Pagán in the ninth, the Twins bullpen was good enough given the circumstances.
  • Rocco played the pinch-hit/platoon game heavily once again, and it worked this time around. His in-game substitutions ended up going 3-for-5 with a walk and two RBI.
  • Could this be the breakout game from Correa that we’ve all been waiting for?


  • Joe Ryan: 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB, 9 K
  • Carlos Correa: 4-for-5, RBI, R, 2B
  • Byron Buxton: 0-for-3, 2 RBI
  • Michael A. Taylor: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, R
  • Edouard Julien: 1-for-2, go-ahead pinch-hit HR


  • None. Twins win, Twins win!