We’re going to be spending quite a bit of time talking about hitting tonight, so let’s go ahead and talk about pitching first. Danny Duffy was formidable for three innings, striking out four and allowing just two hits. Unfortunately, things weren’t so good in the fourth. He gave up a first home run against Nelson Cruz and was visibly angry with himself. The anger only grew when he got a pair of thefts from Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario. Then things completely fell apart as he gave up a single to Marwin Gonzalez, walked Luis Arraez, then allowed Byron Buxton to make a home run for the third game in a row and give the Twins their only lead of the game.
The bullpen was not perfect, but they were good enough. Tyler Zuber gave up a race in 1.1 innings of work, Greg Holland defused the situation. Ian Kenned allowed a solo home run, but also struck out a pair on his working round. Gabe Speier started the eighth inning in a move from manager Mike Matheny that continues to impress me. Speier was cleared to face the lefties before Trevor Rosenthal came in to face Buxton and won a four-out stoppage.
Jake Odorizzi was as slow as ever on his first start of 2020, and the Royals didn’t make it any easier for him during his three innings. They managed to get him to work for a pair of steps and four hits, including a home run. In the end, he only gave up two points in total, but the Royals entered the Twins’ pen early and neither of the first two guys they faced were working.
We could talk about how Ryan O’Hearn had an RBI single and a pair of steps as he continues to look like a legitimate Major League first baseman again. We could talk about how Salvador Perez had three hits, including another brace and a home run. Most of you probably expect me to focus on Jorge Soler’s two home run. And of course, these are worth checking out:
As previously reported, the Twins took the lead in the fourth inning after Danny Duffy’s night rolled around. It was like another one of those games where the Royals just wouldn’t be able to hang on as a clearly superior opponent beat them all around the stadium. But one man was determined that things wouldn’t end there. That man, the hero Kansas City deserves but not the one he wants, was Nicky Lopez.
Nicky Lopez hit his first home run at a major league stadium – his home run last year was at TD Ameritrade Park, the park where he played college ball in a special game to celebrate the College World Series – with a man and equalized the backup game. Without muscular Nicky, Soler and Salvy might not have had the chance to put the game out of reach.
Oh yeah, you probably want to see Salvy take off too, eh?
However, the Royals didn’t just beef up. They also used their legs to good effect. Brett Phillips had a nice drag bunt for a single just after Nicky’s home run to keep the line moving, then he stole the second. Adalberto Mondesi single-handedly accelerated his way to the Royals’ final round in the seventh. He hit a single on the field, stole the second, stole the third and scored on crazy ground. It’s been a good night for the Royals roster as they try to get out of the hole they spent the last week digging into.
The Royals now have their first official winning streak of the 2020 season with three straight games. They also won their first series of the year and have the opportunity to participate in the sweep tomorrow. The Royals will send rookie Brady Singer to the mound but the Twins will counter with ace Jose Berríos. Get used to this showdown, these two young pitchers are supposed to be in their respective team’s rotations for a while.