Kansas City’s offense managed five runs thanks to big swings and some shoddy Minnesota defense and the pitching held serve as the Royals beat the Twins 5-2.
The game began swimmingly for Kansas City as Daniel Lynch retired the first three hitters on groundouts. In the bottom of the inning, the Royals offense immediately jumped on Twins starter Bailey Ober. MJ Melendez crushed a 3-1 fastball 437 feet to put the Royals on the board 1-0. Bobby Witt Jr. followed that with a line drive single that was hit even harder than Melendez’s homer, coming off the bat at a scorching 109.8 mph. Ober quickly jumped ahead of Salvador Perez 0-2 before Perez popped one up down the right field line.
Thus began a very unfortunate series of events for Twins right fielder Matt Wallner. Wallner charged hard toward the ball, slowed up when he realized he didn’t have a play, lunged at the ball off the hop, whiffed on it, then fell to his ass as he watched it roll past him. Witt flew around the bases, scoring from first as Perez cruised into second. Fortunately for Wallner, and unfortunately for Ober’s ERA, there were no errors charged on the play.
The Royals had Ober on the ropes with two runs on the board, nobody out, and two runners on after Vinnie Pasquantino battled for nine pitches before drawing a walk. But Ober managed to pull off the Houdini act, retiring the next three hitters on eight pitches.
The Twins responded in the second. With two out and two on, Wallner redeemed himself by lining a single the other way to score Gary Sánchez. He would later bring home another run on a double, but first...
Kansas City had a big opportunity to break the game open in the third. Perez led off with a single. Pasquantino hit a perfectly placed chopper that hopped over the first baseman and just out of reach of the second baseman for a double. With second and third and nobody out, it looked like Ober would escape again when he struck out Michael A. Taylor on three pitches and retired Michael Massey on a popout. But Edward Olivares came through with a first-pitch liner to center to score Perez. Hunter Dozier flew out to end the inning, but he did come close to hitting his second homer in as many days:
Hunter Dozier vs Bailey Ober#TogetherRoyal— Would it dong? (@would_it_dong) September 22, 2022
Exit velo: 103.3 mph
Launch angle: 28 deg
Proj. distance: 383 ft
This would have been a home run in 25/30 MLB ballparks
MIN (1) @ KC (3)
The Royals led 3-2 through four innings. In the top of the fifth, Lynch was replaced by Collin Snider. Lynch hadn’t been especially efficient or effective, but he was sitting at only 78 pitches. Snider almost blew it by putting the first two runners on, but he got a big 5-3 double play and then a groundout to end the inning.
Pitching took over for the rest of the middle innings as starting with that double play, 12 consecutive hitters were retired between both teams. Witt extended Kansas City’s lead in the seventh. With Nate Eaton on third and the infield playing in, Witt hit a hot shot toward Correa that he couldn’t field, scoring the run. Witt would eventually score as well thanks to a missed pop-up, a groundball, and a Salvy pickle.
Kansas City’s bullpen has been quite leaky all season, but they showed out tonight following an abbreviated Lynch outing. A parade of relievers (Snider, Anthony Misiewicz, Dylan Coleman, Amir Garrett, and Scott Barlow) combined for five shutout innings with four strikeouts and just four baserunners allowed as the Royals cruised to a 5-2 victory.
- The top of the order did the heavy lifting tonight, as 1-4 in the lineup went 7-15 with two doubles, a homer, and a walk. Nate Eaton also had a nice night in the nine-hole, going 2-3 with a stolen base.
- The Twins played some lousy defense tonight in crucial spots, but they did not have an error in the game.
- The Royals made big pitches when they needed to, holding the Twins to 2-11 with runners in scoring position.
- This is the first time since their first matchup this season, April 19-21, that the Royals have beaten the Twins in a series. It is also the first time Kansas City has won consecutive games against Minnesota since then.
- With his 1.1 scoreless innings tonight, Dylan Coleman lowered his second-half ERA to 1.73.
The win improves the Royals to 60-89. They are three games ahead of Detroit in the division and need only three more wins to avoid 100 losses. They will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.
Daniel Lynch - 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Bailey Ober - 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
Salvador Perez - 3-4, 2B, RBI, R
Matt Wallner - 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI