Jarrod Dyson prefers defense, catching 10 fly balls in center field, than hitting his first major league home run.
Dyson and Josh Fields hit two-run homers helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 10-8 Monday night.
Jason Kubel homered, doubled and drove in five runs for the AL Central champion Twins. The Royals led 10-8 after four innings, and held on.
Dyson, a September call-up who was a 20th-round draft pick in 2006, snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a two-run homer in a six-run second off Kevin Slowey. He hit only one homer in five minor league seasons.
“I knew it had a shot when I hit it,” Dyson said. “When I hit it, I was like ‘go ball, go,’ and kept running. I was almost on second when I realized it was a home run. I just try to play small ball. I don’t look for the big home run.
“It ain’t part of my game. I just barreled it up and it just took off. I don’t look forward to hitting home runs. I look forward to hitting the ball on the ground and using my legs.”
Dyson tied a team record for putouts by an outfielder. Amos Otis (1979) and Carlos Beltran (1998) also had 10 each.
“Home runs are not my game,” Dyson said. “Playing defense and getting us out of the innings that’s my game. It was a busy night in the outfield. I was just trying to catch everything I could get to.”
Dyson, however, did not make the most spectacular catch. Right fielder Jai Miller did when he went to the gap and to the wall to run down Michael Cuddyer’s scorcher in the ninth with a runner on first.
“That catch Jai Miller made was a game saver,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I didn’t think he was going to be able to catch it. I was just hoping it would stay in the park. It was a great play.”
Said Miller: “Soon as it was hit, I knew I had to get going. In that situation, I knew my team really needed it. I was fortunate to get a good jump on it, took a good route and made a good catch. As the ball was getting closer, I knew I was coming up on the ball. I knew I had to make the catch for our team.”
Fields hit a two-run homer to put the Royals ahead to stay in the fourth and rookie Lucas May drove in three runs for Kansas City.
Slowey was pulled after 1 2-3 innings, matching his shortest outing of the season. He allowed six runs and six hits, failing to hold a 3-0 lead. Slowey had been 6-1 in his previous 13 starts.
“We didn’t pitch worth a crude,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We haven’t played worth a crude the whole road trip and it starts with the pitching. When you give up 10, 11, 5, 10, you’re not pitching. We better get the edge back. We’re swinging the bats better but it won’t make a difference if we don’t pitch better.
“Slowey’s ball was flat the whole night. Every pitch was up. He didn’t get on top of his pitches.”
The Twins clinched the division on Sept. 22, but have lost four straight matching their longest skid of the season.
“I don’t know what that feels like,” Slowey said. “The last two seasons we’ve played Game 163. We’re certainly not resting on our laurels. We know our regular season is not over. We just need to be better and I was a part of that. We don’t feel lackadaisical. But the results speak for themselves. We had an opportunity to stem the tide today (with an early 3-0 lead), but we didn’t do that. I wasn’t able to make my pitches.”
Royals starter Kyle Davies took a 7-3 lead into the fourth, but failed to make it out of the inning. He was pulled after 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and eight hits and three walks.
Phil Humber (2-1) replaced Davies and gave up the home run to Kubel on his third pitch, but picked up the victory.
Joakim Soria worked a scoreless ninth for his 42nd save in 44 opportunities. He has not allowed a run in 22 2-3 innings, breaking Rusty Meacham’s record of consecutive scoreless innings by a Royals’ relief pitcher. Meacham set the record with 22 1-3 scoreless innings in 1994.
Jeff Manship (2-1), the second of seven Twins pitchers, took the loss, giving up three runs and four hits in 1 1-3 innings.
Notes: Twins C Joe Mauer took early batting practice, but will likely not play in this series because of a troublesome left knee that required cortisone shot Wednesday. … Twins SS J.J. Hardy returned to Minnesota on Monday to have his sore left knee examined. … Royals IF Wilson Betemit missed his second straight game with a bruised shin after being hit by a pitch Saturday.