The Kansas City Royals went more than six weeks without winning a series until taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers
Kansas City took two of three from the San Diego Padres in mid-May and then went 0-10-2 in their next 12 series. But they broke through Sunday with a 9-1 thumping of the visiting Dodgers.
Minnesota is 6-1 against the Royals this season but Kansas City is feeling more confident entering this series after outscoring the high-powered Dodgers 15-5 while winning the final two games of the series
It was definitely a couple of feel-good performances for a team with the second-worst record in baseball.
“It hasn’t been the year that we want, but this is what we need to do,” Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez said after matching his career best with four RBIs on Sunday. “(The Dodgers are) a really, really good team. They’re always playing in October. That’s something we’re striving to get to.
Maikel Garcia had a career-best four hits to fuel Kansas City’s attack. The Royals had 15 hits while failing to homer for the seventh straight game
But playing small ball is fine when the run count almost hits double digits.
“If you keep pressuring them, getting the ball in play — a lot of those balls weren’t driven, but they were at-bats where they worked the count or put a good swing on it,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said
Minnesota took two of three from the host Baltimore Orioles in a series in which it allowed just three runs. But two of them came in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday as the Orioles rallied for a 2-1 triumph.
“We barely gave up any runs the whole series,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We just had a rough ending here in the last game, and it’s really the only blemish I see in the whole series.”
However, the Twins scored just two total runs over the last two games. Willi Castro’s RBI double accounted for the lone run on Sunday and Joey Gallo’s homer was the difference in Saturday’s 1-0 victory
“We couldn’t find any grass out there, that’s for sure,” Baldelli said. “… We hit a lot of balls pretty well. If we hit the ball like that, we’re going to score more than one run off of the starting pitcher. (Sunday) we just couldn’t do it. They made some good plays.”
Right-hander Joe Ryan (8-5, 3.44 ERA) will start Monday’s game for Minnesota. He has struck out 105 in 96 2/3 innings this season.
Ryan, 27, is 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA in five career starts against Kansas City. He beat the Royals in his first start of the year on April 2 when he allowed one run and three hits over six innings
Bobby Witt Jr. (0-for-13) and Lopez (1-for-9) are among the Kansas City players who struggle against Ryan. All-Star Salvador Perez is 3-for-10 in his career.
Ryan has allowed six runs in two of his last three starts and tossed a three-hit shutout in the other turn. He has served up seven homers during the span and was bashed for five homers by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. He gave up six runs and nine hits in three innings of a 6-2 loss.
Rookie left-hander Austin Cox (0-1, 2.25) will make his second career start and eighth appearance for the Royals
Cox allowed four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday when the Royals lost 14-1 to the Cleveland Guardians
–Field Level Media
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