Hosmer, Cain lead Royals past Twins
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain came up with big hits, but it was another outstanding performance by rookie right-hander Jake Junis that laid the foundation for this Kansas City Royals victory.
Hosmer and Cain each had three hits as the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2 Saturday night.
The Royals broke open a tie game with three runs in the eighth after Junis allowed two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“I thought he pitched great,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Two solo home runs, one was kind of a rolling curveball to Escobar and I think a fastball up (to Buxton). Outside of that, he just had it all going for him. He works that slider to both sides of the plate and spots his fastball really well. He gave us exactly what we needed. We were thin in the back end of our pen. We needed some depth from our starter and he provided it for us.”
Cain led off the eighth with a single and Terrance Gore ran for him. After Melky Cabrera walked, Hosmer’s single to center brought Gore home. Salvador Perez’s double to left scored Cabrera.
Alcides Escobar’s sacrifice fly to center scored Hosmer with the final run of the eighth inning.
“It’s big,” Hosmer said of the victory. “We need something to get us going. Tonight was big for us. Tomorrow we can even out the series and just try to control what we can control and that’s going out and winning games from here on out, but it was definitely big for us tonight.”
Mike Minor (6-6) picked up the victory after Junis exited. Brandon Maurer logged the save.
“I was throwing strikes, getting ahead and letting the defense make plays behind me,” Junis said.
The Twins used five relievers in the eighth, three of whom threw only one pitch. Ryan Pressly (2-3) took the loss.
“We turned it over there to the bullpen and we had a tough time,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “These guys are professional hitters. They know how to grind it out and take good at-bats. They know our tendencies. They jumped all over some first-pitch breaking balls there that guys didn’t know they were going to get breaking balls from. So, it’s just one of those things where it just kind of spiraled out of control and they put up a three spot.”
Alex Gordon, who last homered on July 3, hit a solo shot the opposite way in the Kansas City seventh to tie the score 2-2. Gordon belted an 0-1 Jose Berrios pitch over the left-field fence.
The Twins had forged ahead 2-1 in the sixth on a Byron Buxton home run, his 14th.
Berrios gave up two runs on eight hits over seven innings in a no-decision.
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Cain tripled with one out in the bottom of the first and scored on Cabrera’s ground out to shortstop Jorge Polanco.
The Royals bungled a chance to enlarge their lead in the second when they loaded the bases with one out.
Mike Moustakas led off with a single and stopped at third on Escobar’s double down the left-field line. Gordon fell behind in the count 0-2 before drawing a walk.
Berrios wiggled out of that jam when Whit Merrifield rolled into a double play on a full-count pitch.
“It was huge,” Berrios said through a translator. “The batter was 3-1 and all of a sudden we get two outs. It was big. You know, a guy like that, he’s up 3-1 with the bases loaded, you want to do something. It was good that I was able to get him out.”
The Twins tied it in the third. Eduardo Escobar led off the inning with a home run to right after Junis retired the first six batters. It was Escobar’s 17th home run and sixth off Kansas City pitchers this season.
In the fourth, Eddie Rosario singled with one out and stole second.
The Royals, however, challenged the call and after a 59-second review it was reversed. That turned out to be a costly overturn for the Twins as Buxton, who snapped a 0-for-21 funk, and Max Kepler singled.
Escobar walked to load the bases before Jason Castro flied out to left.
Cain and Hosmer singled in the fourth, but the Royals came away with nothing.
NOTES: Royals LHP Danny Duffy is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday. If he has no setbacks, he could start at Cleveland next weekend. Duffy has missed 14 games with a sore left elbow. ... Twins rookie LHP Adalberto Mejia made a rehab start for Double-A Chattanooga and pitched five shutout innings against Montgomery in the Southern League playoffs. He allowed one single and threw 73 pitches. ... Royals RHP Joakim Soria will in all likelihood be activated Monday. He went on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 16 with a pulled left oblique. ... Twins RHP Bartolo Colon and Royals LHP Jason Vargas are the probables for the series finale Sunday.