Despite getting only 3.1 innings from starter Ian Kennedy, the suddenly Alex Gordon-less but still World Champion Kansas City Royals won the first of this three-game set against the Minnesota Twins at a moist Target Field. The environs were so moist, in fact, that the game was delayed for 40 minutes as the skies opened up and poured onto the field.
Fortunately for the Royals - who had jumped out to a 6-2 lead by the time they had completed the top of the third - the rains that came let up, and the game restarted.
The delay started after Kennedy got ahead of the first batter of the bottom of the third Miguel Sano, 0-2. When the game recommenced, Kennedy labored through a 36-pitch third inning. Puzzlingly, he came out to face Kurt Suzuki to start the fourth, inducing a scorching line-out, and then got pulled for Scott Alexander. What Ned Yost's rationale for this odd chain of events was is anyone's guess, but letting Kennedy come back in after that laborious post-delay third made little sense to those far enough away from the dirt to have perspective.
As for that 6-2 lead, the Royals got on the board first as Alcides Escobar led the game off with a double off of Twins' starter Ricky Nolasco. After Whit Merrifield (starting at third for the day-to-day Mike Moustakas) grounded back to the pitcher for the first out of the game, Lorenzo Cain ripped a "double" to right-center that had Danny Santana not flubbed the fielding of might have been an out at second.
The Twins got two back in the bottom of the first. Joe Mauer started things off for Minnesota with a one-out, wall-scraping solo shot to left that Jarrod Dyson almost brought back into the stadium. With two outs, Trevor Plouffe reached on an infield "single" and advanced to second on Alcides Escobar's throwing error. New Twin Robbie Grossman drove Plouffe in with his first of two hits on the night to give Minnesota the lead for the first and only time of the night.
The Royals tied the game in the top of the second as Salvador Perez led off with a double and Paulo Orlando and Omar Infante strung together back-to-back singles to score the plodding catcher.
After tying things up at two apiece in the second, the Royals dropped a four-spot on the Twins in the third as the Royals sent all nine to the plate in an inning that saw Kendrys Morales and Infante draw walks, Merrifield, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Jarrod Dyson single, and Orlando sacrifice a run in while ending Nolasco's night after an excruciatingly long 2.2 innings.
The Royals added another two after coming back from the delay in the fourth with Merrifield kicking things off with a double only to look like he was going to get stranded as Cain and Hosmer struck out swinging to put two outs on the board. Then the Royals' devil magic reared its head with three straight two-out singles from Morales, Perez, and Orlando.
The Royals 8-2 lead held until the bottom of the sixth, when the Twins got a run back against Scott Alexander. They added another in the bottom of the eighth, and actually brought the tying run to the on-deck circle which meant that Kelvin Herrera had to come in and clean up Peter Moylan's mess. That fourth run was the last of the scoring for the Twins.
The Royals were not done. After two quick outs, Salvador Perez singled to reach base with his fifth hit of the night - just a home run shy of the cycle. Paulo Orlando followed with a single of his own, and Omar Infante plated them both with a double that slammed off the wall just a foot shy of being a three-run shot.
As Moylan went 2.1 mostly solid innings, he was credited with the win.
The win brings the Royals' record to 23-21, putting them a half-game behind Cleveland for second place in the Central, as the Pale Hoes and Racists split a double-header today in Chicago. They trail Chicago by three games now.