Twins storm back for seven runs in final two innings to beat Royals
The Twins rallied for five runs in the eighth inning and added another pair of runs in the ninth inning, turning that six-run deficit into one of their best wins of the season.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It looked as if the Twins were out of it — they had gone seven innings, collected just four hits off Royals starter Brady Singer and were staring at a six-run deficit.
But nobody told them that.
The Twins rallied for five runs in the eighth inning and added another pair of runs in the ninth inning, turning that six-run deficit into one of their best wins of the season. Gary Sánchez’s sacrifice fly and Gio Urshela’s single up the middle plated the final two runs as the Twins stormed back for 7-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, completing the three-game sweep.
“I was just getting ready the last three innings,” Urshela, who started the game on the bench, said. “I was just waiting for opportunity and opportunity came to me, so that was good.”
The ninth-inning heroics were set up by Jorge Polanco’s leadoff walk and Max Kepler’s double as the Twins (25-16) put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs. Momentum, at that point, seemed firmly on their side.
They just needed one more hit.
“Good at-bats, you need them and we had a lot of them but someone has to get up there in that moment and actually get it done,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
And after two innings worth of good at-bats for the entire team, Urshela was the one who did that.
The two runs in the ninth — Jhoan Duran came in to lock down a 1-2-3 save right after — came after the Twins nearly took the lead an inning earlier. The Twins’ five-run eighth-inning rally, which included RBI singles from Polanco and Kepler, as well as Sánchez’s first sacrifice fly of the game and a Kyle Garlick two-run home run, came to an end with the bases loaded.
Luis Arraez was called out looking at a borderline pitch after two called strikes earlier in the at-bat that appeared to be slightly out of the zone. But still, the Twins had positioned themselves well to complete the comeback an inning later, the offense coming alive against the Royals’ (14-26) bullpen after being quieted all day by Singer.
“It was kind of a long game until that point. It wasn’t really going our way,” Baldelli said. “We didn’t get anything going. It didn’t deter our guys one bit. … We got to some very good pitchers and then had some really just key moments. There were several of them. We needed a lot to happen in those last couple innings at the plate and we did it.”
The late offense helped the Twins overcome a hole they had fallen into when the Royals had a five-run inning of their own in the sixth. Rookie Yennier Cano recorded just two outs in his outing as the Royals batted around, collecting four hits off him and drawing two walks.
Cano came in for Bailey Ober, who was making his first start since suffering a groin strain late last month. Ober gave up just a run on three hits in his five-inning effort, striking out four in the process and allowing just three hits.
Ober said he felt good and healthy in his outing, yet another positive development for the Twins in a game full of them.
“That’s one that is not going to escape my mind for a long time,” Baldelli said. “ … You don’t see games like that very often. It was one that I think I’ll always remember in one way, shape or form.”
Injured list moves
The Twins activated Trevor Larnach (groin strain) from the injured list on Sunday morning after he completed a two-game rehab assignment with Double-A Wichita. Larnach finished the day 0 for 5 with three strikeouts on Sunday.
As the corresponding move, they placed Cody Stashak (shoulder impingement) on the IL a day after the reliever threw a scoreless inning. Baldelli said Stashak had been working through some light shoulder soreness and the Twins had stayed away from him lately for that reason.
“He was going to have to pitch for us at some point soon,” Baldelli said. “It didn’t go great from a physical standpoint so we just need to get him right, get him feeling better.”
Reliever Danny Coulombe (hip impingement) threw a scoreless inning for Double-A Wichita on Sunday. He has been on the injured list since May 11. … The Twins will send Chris Archer, Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy to the mound against the Tigers.