It’s May and the Royals have a 1.5 game lead in division
Sunday’s game between the Twins was filled with good, bad and ugly moments for the boys in blue. The Twins 13-4 victory in the rubber match has the Royals headed home 6-3 on the road trip and 16-10 on the season.
Brad Keller’s first pitch breaking ball that plunked Luiz Arraez had fans at home thinking “oh boy, here we go again”. But the right-hander got a double play from former MVP, Josh Donaldson, then got Bryon Buxton out to complete Keller’s first 1-2-3 inning of the year.
Unfortunately that was a highlight for the day for Keller as the Twins got on the board in a big way in the 3rd inning.
After a one-out hit batter, the nine-hole hitter, Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run home run to take the lead. Arraez then singled, followed by a hard-hit ball that Hunter Dozier attempted to turn two, but ended with no outs recorded. Next batter, Buxton singled on a chopper to Dozier who then made a throwing error scoring Arraez. After an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly making the lead 4-0 Twins, Mitch Garver smashed a three-run homer.
The Royals offense made things interesting for the time being after a couple of singles by Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi. Trying to make up for his defensive miscues, Hunter Dozier crushed his third home run of the year cutting the lead to 7-3.
The Twins lead shrunk again in the 5th as Whit Merrifield had a RBI double driving in Nicky Lopez who reached via walk.
Keller’s day ended in the bottom of the 5th after he got the leadoff hitter out (4.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 2 ER 3 K). Kris Bubic made his 2021 season debut coming in relief of Keller. Bubic ended the 5th with no runs allowed. In the 6th however, Simmons started the rally with a single. Following that was an RBI triple by Arraez which ended Bubic’s outing bringing on Scott Barlow. Barlow started his outing giving up back-to-back doubles to Donaldson and Buxton extending the Twins lead to 6 runs.
With the game seemingly out of reach, Alex Kirilloff smashed his fourth home run of the series off of Jake Newberry making it a 13-4 ballgame.
Though the Royals defense ultimately led to the series loss, there are a lot of positives on the offensive side from this series. Carlos Santana went 3-4, Andrew Benintendi seems like he is really getting comfortable at the plate going 2-4 today. Then, Hunter Dozier definitely is off to a slow start this year, but he had two extra base hits today including that three-run blast.
Royals head home with a game and a half lead in the AL Central over the White Sox. Chicago lost today 5-0 to the Cleveland Indians who will be facing the Royals tomorrow at 7:10 CDT.