The Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-1 Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium to win their fifth straight game. Kansas City has won 9 of their last 11 games to give hope that they can climb back into the American League playoff picture.
The Kansas City Royals improved to 61-60 with their 8-1 win on Thursday. Kansas City remains 9.0 games behind AL Central leader Cleveland. Minnesota fell to 49-72. The Twins remain in last place in the AL Central.
Twins rookie starter Tyler Duffey shut down the KC Royals offense five days ago in Minneapolis, holding KC to two earned runs over 7.0 innings in a 5-3 Minnesota victory. He seemed to be repeating that performance after reeling off three perfect innings to open Thursday’s game in Kansas City. The Twins even took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a solo home run by second baseman Brian Dozier off KC starter Dillon Gee.
However, game completely turned in the bottom of the fourth inning when KC plated five runs, capped by Alex Gordon‘s grand slam home run with two outs. Gordon’s blast followed Duffey hitting Salvador Perez with a pitch to force in a run. That sequence left Kansas City in control with a 5-0 lead.
The Royals didn’t squander it.
Dillon Gee pitched six shutout innings after giving up the solo home run in the first, and Kansas City plated three more runs in the eighth inning. In the end, the Royals rolled to an 8-1 victory.
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Right now, they’ve playing like champions.
The bats have finally come alive. Kansas City only managed seven hits on Thursday, but that total included two doubles and a grand slam home run. Add in three walks, and KC hitters created plentiful chances to score.
Reliever Chris Young added two more innings of shutout baseball, lowering his ERA to 5.91 on the season. He’s shown himself to be a very effective reliever (2.08 ERA in 21.2 IP) after getting rocked as a starter (7.39 ERA in 56.0 IP with 26 home runs). And, most importantly, Gee continues the Kansas City Royals recent string of strong starts from their rotation.
Kansas City starters have held opponents to a combined 2.85 ERA since August 1, which ranks third in MLB behind the Cubs (1.49 ERA) and Red Sox (2.56 ERA).
You’re going to win a lot of games when your starters perform like that. Let’s hope it continues through September.