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Despite 15 hits, Royals fall to the Twins, 11-9

The pitchers couldn’t tame the Twins’ hitters

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a three-game set against the first place, Minnesota Twins, the Royals looked to end a modest three-game slide. Combining for 20 runs on 26 hits, it was Minnesota pulling ahead late to win, 11-9.

Facing Martín Pérez for the third time on the season, Kansas City didn’t waste any time jumping on the 28-year-old lefty. Following a lead-off single from Whit Merrifield, who extended his streak of back-to-back games without going hitless, the Royals drew first blood on an RBI-single by Jorge Soler. However, the slim margin failed to hold up longer than 15 minutes. Storming right back with two-run “upper decker” off the bat of Nelson Cruz, the Twins tagged Sparkman for his 13th and 14th run in his last 11 innings. In the ensuing inning, two more came home after two walks and a single. Trailing 4-1, Kansas City attempted to rally back in a hurry.

In the top of the fourth, Hunter Dozier stepped to the plate to start the inning. Swinging first pitch on a 93-mph fastball up and away, Dozier blasted it to the opposite field and over the wall to cut the lead to two. Later in the frame, Soler walked home with ease on a balk to make it 4-3. Behind the offense’s quick strike, Sparkman came back out for the bottom half and tossed a scoreless frame. Taking the momentum into the fifth, the Royals tied it in a hurry thanks to a solo shot by Cam Gallagher. Two hitters later, Dozier pummeled his second home run of the night high off the batter’s eye in center field. Hoping to limit the Minnesota lineup to no runs for the second consecutive inning, Sparkman climbed the mound with a rather low pitch count. Despite recording the first out of the inning, a walk and three consecutive hits turned the Royals’ starter’s outing on its ear. Coughing up the lead, he was relieved by Richard Lovelady with two outs in the fifth. Managing to tally the final out on three pitches, the damage was limited to just two runs in the inning, keeping the deficit to one. Just as they had done the inning before, Kansas City refused to trail for long. With one out and a runner at second, Humberto Arteaga roped an RBI-double to the wall in left field, knotting things up at six. From there, the score remained until the bottom of the seventh.

Sending Lovelady out after a scoreless sixth, the Twins took advantage of a missed called third strike by home plate umpire, Joe West. You be the the judge of pitch number seven.

Moving forward, the flood gates burst wide open. Two doubles, two singles, a ground out, and another single, and Minnesota suddenly led 11-6. It took three pitchers for the Royals to stop the bleeding in the inning (Lovelady, Zimmer, Hill). But shockingly (sarcasm), Kansas City would not go away quietly. Before the new Twins’ bullpen arm, Sam Dyson, could record an out, the Royals responded with two runs on a infield single and a throwing error. Later in the rally, Gallagher punched a two-out, two-strike single to center, driving in his second run on the night. Pulling the game to within two at 11-9, Kansas City had one last shot to pull of the comeback in the ninth. However, the other deadline acquisition, Sergio Romo, didn’t waver. Slamming the door 1-2-3, the Twins came out victorious in a wild one, 11-9. Tomorrow, Danny Duffy will attempt to grab his third win in his last four starts. Kyle Gibson will go for Minnesota. First pitch is set for 6:10 CT.