KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The threat of Terrance Gore’s wheels helped Eric Hosmer deliver an RBI single, and Kansas City gained a little ground in its playoff pursuit.
Hosmer drove in the go-ahead run with his third hit in a three-run eighth inning, helping the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Saturday night.
Minnesota (74-68) entered the day with a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final AL wild card. Kansas City is 3 1/2 games behind the Twins at 70-71.
“A game we had to win,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Lorenzo Cain led off the eighth with a single against Ryan Pressly (2-3), and Melky Cabrera walked. Hosmer’s single off Buddy Boshers, who threw only one pitch, scored pinch-runner Gore.
“In those situations when Terrance comes in the game, you’re looking up,” Hosmer said. “You know they’re not going to throw anything low, risk anything in the dirt because he’s going to take the next base. It’s just a huge threat anytime he comes in, so as a hitter you’re just looking to be real aggressive because of what he brings.”
Salvador Perez had an RBI double and Alcides Escobar a sacrifice fly to cap the inning.
Mike Minor (6-6) got the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Maurer earned his second save in three chances since the Royals acquired him in a July 24 trade with San Diego.
Alex Gordon homered with two out in the Royals’ seventh off Jose Berrios to tie it at 2. It was Gordon’s sixth home run and his first since July 3, ending a 169 at-bat home run drought.
“Changeup, it was meant to be more outside,” Berrios said through an interpreter. “I don’t think it was middle of anything like that. I knew he was looking for it.”
Cain tripled in the first and scored on Cabrera’s ground out for the first Royals’ run. Cain finished with three hits.
Royals rookie right-hander Jake Junis, who is 5-0 since a June 29 loss, allowed two runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Eddie Rosario took Junis deep in the third, and Byron Buxton homered in the sixth.
“The first one was a hanging breaking ball and he took advantage of it,” Junis said. “Buxton just had a really good at-bat.”
Berrios limited the Royals to two runs and eight hits over seven innings.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano (left shin stress) did some things on the field Saturday, and Molitor said he “had a good day.” Sano’s return will be made tricky by the fact that the minor league season is nearly over, meaning he won’t be able to go on a rehab assignment. … LHP Adalberto Mejia (arm strain) made a rehab start Saturday for Double-A Chattanooga and pitched five scoreless innings and allowed one run against Montgomery. He struck out five and walked none, throwing 50 strikes in 73 pitches.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (left elbow impingement) will throw a simulated game Monday. If all goes well, Duffy could return to the rotation next weekend. … RHP Ian Kennedy (rotator cuff fatigue) will probably not make his next start. … RHP Joakim Soria (left oblique strain) felt fine Saturday after a bullpen session Friday. Yost said Soria would likely be activated Monday.
Twins: RHP Bartolo Colon is 15-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 29 career starts against the Royals.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas is 2-7 with an 8.13 ERA in his past 11 starts.
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