With their season slipping away, the Minnesota Twins definitively trounced the Kansas City Royals in a 6-3 victory at Target Field. The Royals’ only achievement was in ruining a no-hitter and a shutout in the ninth inning after it no longer mattered.
Though the score looked relatively close, it was anything but. Kris Bubic was not fooling anyone. Luis Arraez doubled to lead off the game, one of four extra base hits the Twins would collect against Bubic, who managed to hold off the Twins until the third inning. But Gilberto Celestino, Arraez, and Carlos Correa notched consecutive hits to score one run, with another coming off a single from Jose Miranda a few batters later.
Bubic would again encounter some difficulty in the fifth inning, once again stung by Correa and Miranda via the home run ball. He managed to get through the fifth, but his night ended after that: with five runs given up and seven batted balls hit against him with exit velocities over 100 MPH. Sure, he only walked one and struck out six, but living in the middle of the zone with a low-90s fastball isn’t going to work.
Normally, this would be the part of the recap where I’d highlight how the Royals hitters did. That is unnecessary here. MJ Melendez walked in the first and third innings, but the Royals didn’t get another baserunner until the ninth inning. A high pitch count forced Joe Ryan out of the game after the seventh, but Jovani Moran couldn’t hold onto the combined no-no shutout. After walking two, Moran left a fastball up against Bobby Witt Jr., who hammered the ball with the highest exit velo of the night (109.6 MPH) for a double.
But by that time, the Royals were down six. They were not going to score six runs under any circumstances tonight, and they did not. Vinnie Pasquantino gathered an RBI for his stat sheet with a sac fly to push Witt across for a third run, I guess. It just didn’t do any good.
The Twins claw their way back to .500 after a trying few weeks. For them, the AL Central is still potentially in play, as they stand five games back against the Cleveland Guardians. For the Royals, not so much.