MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jhoan Duran’s wild pitch allowed Edward Olivares to score the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals ended a nine-game losing streak at Target Field with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Olivares doubled twice and walked on four pitches from Duran (0-1) leading off the ninth. Olivares stole second, and Michael Massey walked for the first time in 81 plate appearances this season when Duran committed a pitch-clock violation with a full count.
Nicky Lopez sacrificed and Olivares bounced a 1-0 curveball off the mitt of catcher Ryan Jeffers, the ball bouncing to the warning track in front of the first-base dugout.
“You get Duran coming in there throwing 101 (mph). It easy to say, ‘Oh, he wasn’t throwing strikes,’ but you have to gear up and be ready for that, for laying off some of those pitches,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. “Ollie had a really good at-bat. You can’t overstate what Nicky’s bunt did for us there. Throwing that hard it’s not easy to bunt, and then when you’re a little bit erratic it’s even tougher.”
Kansas City (7-21) won for just the third time in 15 games as Scott Barlow hung on for his fourth save. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco singled with one out, Byron Buxton took a called third strike and Trevor Larnach hit a game-ending comebacker. The Royals had not won at Minnesota since last May 28.
Minnesota went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners, matching its season high. The AL Central-leading Twins had won five of their previous six games.
“We had a good offensive approach. We just didn’t get those timely hits that we normally get,” Buxton said. “To be able to have a chance to tie it up and win the game in the ninth, that’s what you’re asking for.”
José Caus, Taylor Clarke, Chapman (1-1) and Barlow allowed one run over the final 3 2/3 innings, a day after the bullpen gave up one hit in four innings. In its past seven games, Royals relievers have allowed five earned runs in 25 innings.
Chapman got his first win with the Royals.
“The group we got down there is just feeding off each other really well. One of the things we say in meetings is pass the baton, feed off the guy that went before you and fight for the guys behind that are going to come in after you,” Barlow said.
Polanco thought he hit a line drive home run in the first inning and, with the crowd cheering, started a home run trot. However, the ball ricocheted off the top of the wall near the right field foul pole and right fielder Nick Pratto threw to shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who tagged a shocked Polanco as he got to second base. A video review showed the ball missed clearing the wall by inches.
Buxton homered in the seventh off Clarke for a 2-1 lead, a ball that skipped off the top of the left-field wall, caromed off a short fence just past the flower bed and back onto the field. Buxton stopped at second base, but after a brief huddle by the umpires, a home run was signaled.
Brad Keller’s wild pitch allowed Minnesota to score its first run in the fourth, Lopez had a tying RBI single in the fifth and Salvador Perez had a tying RBI single in the eighth.
Keller gave up one run, five hits in 5 1/3 innings, threw a pair of wild pitches and walked five, one shy of his career high. He has 16 walks over 13 1/3 innings in his last three starts.
Bailey Ober, recalled from Triple-A St. Paul and taking the slot of injured Kenta Maeda, allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
Kansas City stole four bases for the first time since April 4 last year.
Twins: INF Kyle Farmer, hit on the face by a fastball on April 12, is expected to play some rehab games next week. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Farmer is “mostly done” with dental work and has been taking swings and fielding. … Maeda was placed on the on the 15-day IL retroactive to Thursday with a right triceps strain.
Minnesota RHP Sonny Gray (3-0, 0.62) looks to extend his strong start in Sunday’s series finale. Kansas City plans to start RHP Brady Singer (2-2, 6.67).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.