Jake Cave hit his first career grand slam and Fernando Rodney picked up his 24th save as the Minnesota Twins held on for a 6-5 victory and a three-game series sweep over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Logan Forsythe and Robbie Grossman each had two hits and Ehire Adrianza scored two runs for Minnesota, which improved to 14-4 in its last 18 games at Target Field. Gabriel Moya (2-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief to pick up the victory. It was the fourth series sweep of the season for the Twins.
Whit Merrifield homered and had four hits and Lucas Duda also homered for Kansas City. Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar each had two hits for the Royals, who dropped their fourth straight game.
Danny Duffy (7-10) took the rare loss against the Twins, allowing six runs on eight hits in six innings, walking one while striking out six. Duffy, the first American League pitcher in the live-ball era to allow one run or fewer in six straight road starts, entered the contest with a 6-1 career mark against the Twins, including a 1-0 record and 0.95 ERA in 19 innings in three starts this season.
Duda gave the Royals an early 2-0 lead with his 10th home run of the season in the first, a 431-foot drive into the bullpen in left-center that drove in Gordon, who had singled.
Minnesota took a 4-2 lead in the second on Cave’s grand slam to right, doubling the amount of runs that Duffy had allowed in 20 2/3 innings against Minnesota this season. Cave, obtained from the Yankees in March for pitcher Luis Gil, entered the contest batting just .158 against left-handers.
The Twins made it 6-2 in the fourth on an RBI single by Adrianza, driving in Kepler, who opened the inning with a ground-rule double to left-center. Adrianza later scored on a double by Grossman.
The Royals chased starter Ervin Santana in the fifth with three straight singles to open the inning, the last one by Gordon to drive in Escobar to cut Minnesota’s lead to 6-3. After getting Salvador Perez to fly out, Santana was lifted for Moya who then struck out Duda and got Rosell Herrera to fly out to end the threat.
Merrifield then made it 6-5 with a two-run homer to left off reliever Trevor Hildenberger in the seventh, driving in Escobar, who had doubled.
The Royals had two singles and a walk off Rodney in the ninth, including Merrifield’s fourth hit of the game. But Rodney got Herrera to ground out to Sano to end the game.
Santana gave up three runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media