MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Whit Merrifield had three hits, including a three-run homer, to back Danny Duffy’s strong start as the Kansas City Royals came back to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 and split Saturday’s doubleheader.
Duffy (1-2) allowed two runs — one earned — on two hits in five innings. He struck out eight for Kansas City, which has won six of its past eight games, including a home sweep of Minnesota last week. Trevor Rosenthal issued a leadoff walk in the seventh but struck out the next three batters for his fifth save.
“We needed that from Duff right there,” said Royals manager Mike Matheny, who earned his 600th win as a manager. “We needed him to get through five for us. He really showed something to us that last inning coming through and giving us an opportunity to get in there and hand the ball off to (Josh Staumont) and Rosy.”
Nelson Cruz homered in both games of the doubleheader and now has 407 career home runs, tying Duke Snider for 56th on the all-time list. The Twins won Saturday’s first game 4-2 as Cruz had a pair of hits.
In the second game, Merrifield lined a pitch into the left-field bleachers after Minnesota starter José Berríos (1-3) walked two batters earlier in the inning.
“This is the second time we’re seeing Berríos in a row,” Merrifield said. “Familiar with him, familiar with all of his pitches, seen all his pitches these last however many at-bats I’ve had. … So, I saw a changeup out of his hand and it was a good pitch for me to hit.”
Berríos gave up four runs in four innings. He surrendered five hits, tied a season-high with four walks and struck out six. He’s given up eight runs in 9 1/3 innings in his past two starts, both coming against the Royals.
“Honestly I don’t feel really far (off),” Berríos said of his pitches. “If I minimize the walk, I would be in better position. … I want to take that positive step.”
Duffy, who entered the game with the third-best ERA among Twins’ opponent starters with at least 100 innings pitched since 2011, was rarely in trouble.
Minnesota scored once in the first following an error. Duffy retired 14 of 15 batters at one point, interrupted only by Cruz’s sixth homer of the season that went off the facing of the second deck in straightaway center field.
“We never really got anything going,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We have to give ourselves a little pat and say ‘That’s on us, we have to give ourselves better at bats to give ourselves a chance.”
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Source: CBS Minnesota