The Royals got a solid start by Kris Bubic, a home run by Adalberto Mondesi, and a three-hit day from Whit Merrifield, but it took a clutch hit by rookie Kyle Isbel late to give them a 5-3 win to take the series from the Twins. Bubic gave up three runs (two earned), allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out six in 5 2⁄3 innings. Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz, Josh Staumont, and Scott Barlow would toss goose eggs the rest of the game to give the lineup a chance to win it late.
Like last night’s game, both teams scored in the first. Whit Merrifield led off the game with a double, and Nicky Lopez followed up with an infield single, extending his on-base streak to 22 games. Salvador Perez drove in his 105th run of the year with a sac fly to score Whit and make it 1-0 Royals.
In the bottom of the inning, it was Byron Buxton once again kick-starting the offense with a leadoff double. He advanced to third on a passed ball by catcher Sebastian Rivero, and scored on a Luis Arraez sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Adalberto Mondesi broke that tie with his sixth home run of the year, breaking a streak of 17 hitless plate appearances. The 403-foot blast gave the Royals a 2-1 lead.
In the third inning, Whit Merrifield made a heady play with runners at first and second. Rob Refsnyder hit a pop fly that Whit allowed to drop so he could throw to third to get the runner at third, with Mondesi throwing to second to get the force at second for what seemed like an inning-ending double play. But after Twins manager Rocco Baldelli complained, the umpires retroactively called the infield fly rule, putting the runners back on base. Arraez would pop out to the inning, so no damage was done.
Merrifield’s RBI double in the fifth would count, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. The Royals had a chance for more in the sixth when an Andrew Benintendi single and walks to Ryan O’Hearn and Kyle Isbel loaded the bases with two outs. But Sebastian Rivero grounded out to end the threat.
Bubic pitched well for the first five innings but ran into trouble in the sixth, facing the Twins lineup the third time through. Buxton and Refsnyder led off with singles, and with one out, Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases. Mike Matheny finally went to Domingo Tapia, who struck out Miguel Sanó, but a Brent Rooker double would plate two runs to tie the game at 3-3.
Benintendi continued his hot hitting with a single (on one knee!) to lead off the eighth, giving him his sixth multi-hit game in his last 10 games. Carlos Santana walked, setting up Mondesi to sac the two runners over. Ryan O’Hearn hit a weak dribbler to get Benintendi out at home, but Kyle Isbel picked the team up with an RBI single to give the Royals the lead.
A Benintendi sac fly in the ninth to score Merrifield would add an insurance run to secure the 5-3 win.
The Royals improve to 65-78 and will return to Kansas City for a three game series against the Athletics beginning on Tuesday.