KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Minnesota Twins used an extra outfielder to try to stop Lucas Duda, but could not position their right fielder deep enough in the sixth inning.
Duda homered and drove in three runs, Danny Duffy earned his first home win in 11 months and the Kansas City Royals held on for a 6-5 victory over the Twins on Friday night.
Duda’s two-out single in the first inning scored Whit Merrifield and Jorge Bonifacio. It landed just fair down the left-field line and barely out of the reach of third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
The Twins used a radical shift in Duda’s next two at-bats, moving Escobar into left as an extra outfielder. Duda beat it both times.
He singled to center to lead off the fourth and scored on Hunter Dozier’s double. He led off the sixth with his eighth homer down the right-field line off Kyle Gibson (4-7).
“They were doing the unique shift on him where they use a four-man outfield,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The first one was a perfectly placed pop up, two RBIs, to give us a two-run lead. And the second one, even if they weren’t shifting was going to be a base hit. He didn’t hit it hard, but the third one, he walloped. That was a blast to the right-field seats.”
Duffy, who is 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA in his past 11 starts, limited the Twins to one run and five hits over seven innings. Duffy (6-8) picked up his first Kauffman Stadium victory since Aug. 22, ending an eight-game skid.
“Finally, it’s been a long time,” Duffy said. “It was nice to get one at home.”
Duffy limited the damage in the fourth when the Twins loaded the bases with no outs. Max Kepler flied out to Alex Gordon to score Escobar, snapping Duffy’s 16-inning scoreless streak.
The Royals padded their lead in the seventh on All-Star catcher Salvador Perez’s two-run double.
Gibson was removed after 5 1/3 innings and 103 pitches, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks.
“Duda hit three balls where no defenders were,” Gibson said. “He did a good job of hitting pitcher’s pitches about three times.”
Mitch Garver tripled home Escobar in the Minnesota eighth.
The Twins scored three runs in the ninth, runs on groundouts by Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario, and Mitch Garver’s bases-loaded walk. Brandon Maurer got the final out for his first save, leaving the bases loaded.
“Too little, too late,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Duffy stymied us for the most part again. He’s pitched really well against us the last couple of outings.
“It was nice to see us make a run there, obviously. You try to keep pushing until the game’s over, but it just puts a lot of pressure on your team to find a way to come back when you’re down by four there.”
The Royals earned just their third victory in the past 17 games.
Twins: Recalled IF Taylor Motter from Triple-A Rochester. He has played six positions in 139 games in the majors with the Rays and Mariners. The Twins promoted 3B Miguel Sano from Class A Fort Myers, where he hit .323 with 12 RBIs in 19 games, to Rochester.
Royals: IF Adalberto Mondesi has returned to the Dominican Republic and was placed on the family medical emergency list. IF Ramon Torres was recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (right middle finger surgery) allowed one run on two hits over six innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Rochester against Norfolk on Friday. He walked three and struck out one, throwing 46 strikes in 66 pitches in a no-decision. … 1B Logan Morrison (left hip impingement) hit early and should come off the disabled list Sunday. … RHP Addison Reed (right triceps tightness) threw a bullpen session and will probably throw another Sunday.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (left oblique strain) will probably remain on the disabled list for a while. He received a platelet-rich plasma shot on July 12 and has done only light activities with no throwing since then.
Twins: RHP Lance Lynn is 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis will come off the disabled list and start. He has not pitched since July 2 and went on the DL with lower back inflammation.
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