Twins Lose But Magic Number Still Drops
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Berríos and Taylor Rogers have been the Twins' most reliable pitchers and helped push Minnesota to the verge of the AL Central title.
For one game, Berríos and Rogers each faltered as the Twins missed a chance to build on their division lead.
Rogers got tagged during a seven-run ninth inning and Minnesota fell to the Kansas City Royals 12-5 on Saturday night. The Twins remained four games ahead of Cleveland, which lost at home to Philadelphia.
"Sometimes things just don't play out the way you want them to, and there's not a lot to single out," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said of Rogers. "Was he as sharp as he normally is? I mean, he's nails almost every time he goes out there."
"Does a great job and marches and walks right into the dugout quietly and does his thing and the inning's over. Seems like when he doesn't work out like that, it's very odd," he said.
Pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert lined a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Rogers (2-4) to begin the Royals' big burst. Rogers gave up three runs on three hits while getting just one out.
Rogers has been a big reason the Twins are in first place. He had only allowed one run in his previous 12 outings, and his ERA rose from 2.30 to 2.69 after his appearance.
"It's been a while since I've had to do this, so that's pretty good news," Rogers said of speaking to the media after the loss.
Randy Rosario (2-0) retired the only batter he faced as the Royals ended a four-game losing streak. They avoided becoming the fourth team in the majors with 100 losses this season.
"We want to win every game we play," Kansas City first baseman Ryan O'Hearn said. "That hasn't changed. To beat a good team tonight was fun. We'll come back and try to even the series up tomorrow."
O'Hearn, who homered off Berríos earlier, started the ninth with a single. After a sacrifice, Cuthbert connected.
Jorge Soler and O'Hearn each finished with three hits.
"These kids, they've made some pretty good headway this year," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The thing I'm most proud of is they just stay after it. I'm pleased with that."
LaMonte Wade Jr. homered and tripled for the Twins, who had won six of eight.
Berríos was handed a 5-2 lead after Minnesota scored four runs in the fifth off Royals starter Glenn Sparkman. Berríos couldn't hold the lead as Ryan McBroom had an RBI single and O'Hearn followed with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Berríos allowed five runs in six innings after he had surrendered just two runs over his previous two starts, spanning 14 1/3 innings.
"I'm feeling really good," Berríos said. "My stuff is working for me. It was working today. It was just like, I guess, a lucky outing, if you want to call it that way. Not to make excuses, but it was just one of those things."
The five runs give the Twins 894 runs this season, setting a new Twins/Washington Senators' franchise record. The previous record of 892 was set by Washington in 1930. ... Reliever Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Berríos. Duffey has a scoreless innings streak of 21 2/3 innings and is unscored upon in his last 24 outings. ... Kansas City second baseman Whit Merrifield doubled in the ninth, giving him a majors-best 197 hits this season.
Twins: OF Max Kepler (shoulder) pinch-ran in the eighth inning after missing the previous six games. Kepler has been running the bases and shagging flyballs during batting practice. The shoulder injury bothers Kepler when hitting. ... 1B C.J. Cron (bruised thumb) had no issues after starting Friday's game. It was his first start in five games. He was out of the lineup on Saturday. ... Ehire Adrianza (oblique) took groundballs prior to Saturday's game and is planning to hit off a tee on Sunday.
Royals: RHP Jorge López (4-8, 5.93 ERA) will start the final road game of the season for Kansas City. He's allowed four earned runs in 17 1/3 innings over his past three starts, all coming on the road.
Twins: LHP Martín Pérez (10-7, 4.92) will try to improve against the Royals in Minnesota's regular season home finale. Perez is 0-1 with a 7.02 ERA in three starts against Kansas City this season.