KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Minnesota Twins hit a new low with their latest loss.
The Kansas City Royals scored eight runs, six unearned, with two out in the eighth to win 11-2 and sent the Twins to their fifth straight defeat. Minnesota dropped to a major league-worst 9-17 and set a franchise record for most April defeats.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire held a closed-door meeting after the debacle.
“We need to get it figured out.” Gardenhire said. “This was not the way we planned to start the season. I told the guys ‘We’re starting 0-0 tomorrow. We’ll get busy playing the way we know how.’ It’s disappointment and frustration, too.
Tonight kind of topped it off. We don’t like to lose around here. We’re not used to it and our fans don’t deserve it.”
The Twins won the American League Central the past two years.
“Everything he said was to a ‘T,”‘ second baseman Michael Cuddyer said. “He said what needed to be said. We’re going to pull for each other and only the people in this room are the only ones who are going to change it. The meeting needed to be done. If he didn’t do it somebody else probably would have.
“It’s time to start winning but now we need to win every month. We’ve been in this situation before. I’ve seen us dig out of it.”
Left-hander Brian Duensing (2-1) took the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, and eight hits in seven innings, while striking out six and walking two.
“There’s no reason to panic,” Duensing said. “There’s so much baseball left it’s ridiculous. We have to turn it around and play the game the right way. It’s still April, but the excuse that it’s early needs to get shoved to the wayside. Hopefully by June or July things have turned around and we can laugh at this. It’s not like we’re thinking the season is over.”
Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer in Kansas City’s eight-run eighth inning and rookie right-hander Nate Adcock picked up his first big league victory. The Royals sent 12 men to the plate and scored all eight runs after two outs. Six of the runs were unearned after an error by Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.
The inning also included Chris Getz’s run-scoring infield single, Mike Aviles’ bases-loaded walk and Jeff Francoeur’s RBI double. Morneau’s fielding miscue permitted two runs to score.
The eight-run inning was the Royals’ largest since June 14, 2007, when they scored eight in the second inning against St. Louis.
Adcock (1-0), a Rule 5 pick from the Pittsburgh Pirates who had never pitched above Class A ball before this season, worked a scoreless seventh to claim the victory.
Getz led off the seventh with a line drive to left that Rene Tosconi attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball got past him and rolled to the fence. Getz wound up at third, only his third extra-base hit of the season. He scored on Aviles’ sacrifice fly to put the Royals ahead 3-2.
The Twins, who have scored an American League-low 82 runs, failed to take advantage of seven walks issued by Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan. Jason Kubel had two of the three Minnesota hits.
The Twins did not get the ball out of the infield in the first inning, but scored two runs with the help of throwing errors by catcher Matt Treanor and third baseman Aviles. Matt Tolbert had a bunt single, the only hit of the inning, and there were two walks.
Denard Span, who led off the game with a walk, scored when Morneau grounded into a double play. Tolbert came home on Aviles’ throwing error.
O’Sullivan held the Twins to two hits and two runs in seven innings, but threw only 55 strikes in 104 pitches and did not have a 1-2-3 inning.
The Royals scored an unearned run in the third when Treanor and Aviles had singles. Treanor scored on Michael Cuddyer’s throwing error on Melky Cabrera’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Billy Butler led off the Royals fourth with his third home run to tie the score at 2.
NOTES: DH Jim Thome returned to the Twins lineup after missing four games with a mild left oblique strain. … Royals RHP Robinson Tejeda threw 26 pitches in batting practice. He went on the disabled list April 14 with right shoulder inflammation. “He had a little more life on his fastball,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He got it up to 93 (mph), which is better than it was, with the majority at 92. The command was off, which is natural having a bit of a layoff, facing hitters. It was a good step. We’ll do it again. He’s getting better. We’ll see how he recovers tomorrow and that will give us a better idea.” … The Twins won nine games in April. The last time they failed to get at least 10 victories in a month was April 2006, when they went 9-15.