Merrifield, Bubic lead Royals over Twins 8-3

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Whit Merrifield had two hits and three RBIs, Kris Bubic had another strong start and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3 Friday night.

Merrifield had a two-run double in a five-run seventh inning as Kansas City’s offense broke out after scoring five total runs during a three-game series at Tampa Bay.

“That’s kind of our lineup at full strength tonight,” Merrifield said. “It was good to see that produce eight runs.”

Bubic (1-0) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. In three starts after a stint in the bullpen, Bubic has allowed three runs in 17 innings.

Randy Dobnak (1-4) struggled in his second start for Minnesota, giving up six runs and nine hits in six innings.

“I started falling behind guys later in the game, but, yeah, just getting the early outs and go deep into the game was my game plan, and it was working pretty well until I hit a wall,” Dobnak said.

Dobnak allowed three straight hits to start the seventh and was replaced by Cody Stashak, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.

“That is about as well as you can throw the ball to that period of the game,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But we need to keep it going and find a way to stop the bleeding in moments like that and obviously find a way to put some runs on the board, too.”

Mitch Garver hit his eighth homer of the season for the Twins, who had their four-game winning streak end.

STREAK SNAPPING

Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier each ended long hitless streaks for the Royals. Dozier snapped an 0-for-32 streak in his first game off the injured list with a concussion. Soler had two hits to break his 0-for-21 stretch.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “These guys are too good for that not to happen. But it’s great to see. Really impressed with Soler.”

REINFORCEMENTS ARRIVE

Before the game, Matheny talked about getting closer to his preferred lineup with Dozier’s return and Adalberto Mondesi returning from the injured list earlier in the week. Matheny noted Soler, Dozier and Michael A. Taylor hitting in the final three spots in the order as an example of the improved depth.

Soler, Dozier and Taylor combined for five hits, a walk and five runs scored.

“Love to see this group all start to come together at the same time and I think we had a little glimpse of that today,” Matheny said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: RHP Josh Staumont was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain, while RHP Carlos Hernández was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. … 1B Ryan O’Hearn was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move to make room for Dozier’s activation.

Twins: OF Byron Buxton is still working on his running progression as he rehabs a right hip strain. There is no timetable for a rehab assignment. … OF Max Kepler was out of the lineup as he deals with a lingering hamstring injury. Baldelli said he’s picking spots to use Kepler in a limited fashion in hopes of avoiding the injured list. … RHP Kenta Maeda (right adductor strain) was scheduled to throw a light bullpen session on Friday. Baldelli said it’s still possible Maeda could return around the two-week mark after going on the injured list on May 23.

UP NEXT

J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.44 ERA) will start Saturday afternoon for Minnesota. After the game, Matheny announced that RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.20) will start for Kansas City against his former team. Santana has pitched in eight games, including one start, this season. Happ has allowed 19 earned runs in 13 innings over his last three starts.

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