MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – With the Minnesota Twins long out of the playoff picture, manager Paul Molitor wants his players to understand exactly what’s on the line.
Namely, their jobs.
Hector Santiago lost his third consecutive start since being acquired by Minnesota two weeks ago, and the Twins committed four errors in an 11-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
“We have a lot of people that have a lot to play for here,” Molitor said. “There’s a lot of things up in the air.”
Paulo Orlando and Lorenzo Cain each got four hits and drove in three runs as the Royals won their first road series since late June. Edinson Volquez (9-10) threw six solid innings to snap his five-game winless streak, giving up two earned runs and five hits.
Minnesota, meanwhile, closed its homestand 2-7 after starting August 5-2.
“We had a lot of misplays around the field today, so you don’t want to point any fingers,” Molitor said. “Not a good game, not a good homestand. We come home 5-2 and things kind of turned the other way.”
Santiago (10-7) remained winless with Minnesota since coming over in a four-player trade with the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 1. He’s allowed 15 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings in his first three starts for Minnesota.
“I thought I made some good pitches,” Santiago said. “They fouled them off, and then made some bad pitches and they didn’t miss them.”
Orlando hit a three-run homer off Santiago in the fourth, capping a six-run inning.
Brian Dozier hit his 26th home run for Minnesota and Joe Mauer had a pair of hits, including an RBI single in the fifth that pulled the Twins to 7-4.
Then came the errors. Kansas City took advantage of three Twins errors in the sixth, two by third baseman Jorge Polanco, to pull away.
Polanco’s second misplay loaded the bases for Cain, who singled off reliever Michael Tonkin to drive in a pair of runs. Two batters later, left fielder Robbie Grossman failed to come up with Kendrys Morales’ flyball, resulting in two more runs. Grossman also had an error during a six-run fourth.
“You see the ball start to come out of gloves and we’re not fielding balls cleanly,” Molitor said. “I’m sure it becomes mental to some degree. We just had trouble catching the ball even on routine plays.”
The Twins designated LHP Andrew Albers for assignment during game, bringing the 40-man roster to 38.
Twins: OF Miguel Sano was scheduled for an MRI on Monday for his sore right elbow. Both Molitor and Sano called the move precautionary, although it’s the same elbow that required Tommy John surgery and caused the Twins slugger to miss the 2014 season in the minors. Sano tweaked the elbow during warmups last weekend in Tampa Bay and the pain hasn’t gone away. “It bothers me in the sense of the pain, but I’m not worried about anything being severe,” Sano said through a translator, adding that it doesn’t bother him while swinging.
Twins: Minnesota is off Monday before Ervin Santana (5-9) takes the mound to start a two-game interleague set in Atlanta on Tuesday. Santana has won two straight. He threw a complete game against the Braves on July 26, but the Twins still lost 2-0.
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