First off, let me start with this: it’s always good to beat the Minnesota Twins.
I typically give a little shtick in every Royals/Twins game I recap talking about the boring irrelevance of the Minnesota Twins. Joe Mauer got 251 hits in his career against the Royals and I cannot remember a single freaking one of them. Tonight, it was good to see the Royals remind the Twins who they are - an eternal yawn that only sniffs relevance when it involves historic futility.
Now, on to Friday’s win, because there were lots of good things that happened!
The Royals beat the Twins, 8-3, to open a three-game set at Target Field. The pitching was great. The offense broke out. The bullpen, save for one piece, did a good job. It was, for the most-part, a stress-free win for the good guys.
Randy Dobnak started for the Twins, and he shut down the Royals for the first four innings. Dobnak looks like a central Missouri gas station manager, so it made perfect sense to see his north-of-5.00 ERA breezing through the lineup. But the bats broke through in the fifth, and it all happened with two outs.
Hunter Dozier, making his return from the IL after his collision with Jose Abreu two weeks ago, worked a walk. Michael A. Taylor ripped a double and Dozier was waived home. He should have been out by a few feet, but the catcher never got a grip on the throw, resulting in a run scoring. Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana followed with RBI singles, pushing the score to 3-1 less than 10 pitches after Dobnak nearly escaped the inning unscathed.
Things unraveled for Minneosta in the seventh. Get this: Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and Michael A. Taylor had back-to-back-to-back hits. I am pretty sure I would have taken my chances trying to win the lottery of all lotteries before I’d bet on that scenario occurring. It chased Dobnak from the game, as the Twins realized at this exact moment that he’s the worst pitcher in baseball history. Giving up consecutive hits to Soler, Dozier, AND Taylor? There has to be a clause in the rulebook that requires an insta-DFA and lifetime ban for this.
Whit Merrifield roped an RBI double into the left-field corner with the bases loaded, scoring two runs. Carlos Santana hit a sacrifice fly. Salvador Perez hit a run-scoring single. Adalberto Mondesi snuck an RBI hit out of the infield. 8-1, Royals. Game busted open.
All jokes aside, Soler and Dozier desperately needed to get out of their funks, and they did just that. Entering the night, Soler was on a 1-for-28 and Dozier was on an 0-for-31. They both busted out of those slumps by reaching base multiple times. Whit Merrifield also had struggled this month (he has as many multi-hit games in May as Soler - for real!), and he did a great job returning to “multi-hit Whit” form.
Minnesota got a couple of runs in the home half of the seventh when Tyler Zuber couldn’t find the strike zone (he walked three of the four guys he faced, throwing a total of 15 balls and five strikes). Kyle Zimmer, playing fireman, came in and got Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz out to end the threat, effectively ending the last real chance for the Twins.
The other story of the night is Kris Bubic, who continues to just be terrific. He gave up a solo homer to Mitch Garver in the fourth - the first homer he’s allowed all year - but other than that, the Twins got nothing. Bubic gave up four hits and struck out five in 6.0 innings of work. The offense finally gave him some run support, resulting in his earning his first win of the season (1-0). His ERA through 29.2 innings pitched this year sits at 1.52.
Also: the attitude that Jake Brentz showed while mowing down Minnesota in the last inning was awesome. He’s got some fire. Let’s get he and Singer to join forces on a quality performance and they can set a new record for most fire shown in one game.
Overall, this was an excellent win for Kansas City. Minnesota is where their 11-game losing streak started a few weeks ago. They needed to start this off with a win, and they need to take this series. They have a winnable stretch of games coming up with Minnesota-Pittsburgh-Minnesota being their next 10 games.
The Royals are 24-25. They have the chance to get back to .500 tomorrow, when (probably) Carlos Hernandez makes his season debut at 1:10 pm. Minnesota will counter with J.A. Happ, who has been a disaster thus far.