The Royals overcame three home runs from Minnesota second baseman Brain Dozier for an 11-5 victory over the Twins in Minneapolis. Kendrys Morales blasted a three-run bomb that brought Kansas City back from a 4-2 deficit in the fifth inning.
The Kansas City Royals improved to 71-66 with their 11-5 victory on Labor Day. They gained a 1/2 game on Cleveland pending the outcome of the Indians game against Houston to trail the AL Central leaders by 9.0 games. Kansas City remains 4.0 games behind the Orioles and Tigers for the AL’s second wild card. The Twins fell to 51-87 and remain in last place in the AL Central.
KC Royals starter Ian Kennedy wobbled through 5.1 innings, allowing 9 hits, 2 walks, and 4 earned runs with 6 strikeouts. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier led off the game with a solo blast in the first, added a two-run shot in the third, and another solo home run off reliever Brooks Pounders in the eighth.
With the Twins leading 4-2 with two-outs in the fifth inning, Kendrys Morales slammed a three-run home run (23) which allowed the Royals to seize a 5-4 lead aganst Twins starter Jose Berrios. The Kansas City Royals then added two runs in the seventh against the Minnesota pen with a sacrifice fly from Eric Hosmer and an RBI single from Salvador Perez. KC tacked on four more tallies in the eighth highlighted by Eric Hosmer’s two run shot (21).
While it was nice to see Kansas City make a rally stick after blowing four winnable games during their last homestand, their playoff hopes remain dim. Not only did the Royals give away losses they can little afford to surrender, they also showered those presents on other playoff contenders in the Yankees and Tigers. KC now needs to finish 19-6 to win 90 games.
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While not impossible, that’s no easy feat.
What makes those losses particularly painful is that all four were winnable games. In fact, the KC Royals bullpen blew seventh inning, or later leads, in three of those games. Nail down those expected victories, and Kansas City could be tied with the Tigers in the Central and trail the Orioles by a mere one game. With a little luck, KC would have swept both the Tigers and Yankees.
Kansas City once again finds themselves in desperation mode like the were after a three-game losing streak in early August. KC will need a response similar to the 18-4 run that put them back in the playoff chase.
Kansas City needs to make hay against a favorable September stretch in which they play the Twins, White Sox, and A’s in thirteen straight games.