MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Twins manager Paul Molitor is taking full advantage of expanded September rosters.
Eddie Rosario homered, Ehire Adrianza had three hits and three RBIs, and Minnesota used six relievers to overcome a short start and beat the Kansas City Royals 10-6, snapping a five-game skid Friday night.
Trevor May (4-1) picked up the win with two shutout innings in relief of Stephen Gonsalves, who lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his fourth major league start. With a day off Thursday and a 13-man bullpen, Molitor pulled Gonsalves after he’d thrown just 52 pitches.
“Thank God for September,” Molitor said. “We’ve got a lot of fresh people coming off the off day and the amount of people that we have, that helps make your decisions a little easier to go ahead and turn it over a little bit more quickly than you might another time in the season.”
After the Twins took the lead with three runs in the fifth, May, Matt Magill, Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger each kept the Royals off the board the rest of the way.
“The guys we brought in all did a nice job putting up the zeroes the last half of the ballgame,” Molitor said.
Salvador Perez homered and Jorge Bonifacio had three hits for the Royals, who have lost three straight after winning eight of nine.
“We just couldn’t find a way to get the ball hit at somebody,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose pitchers allowed 12 hits and walked seven batters in eight innings.
Minnesota broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run fifth. Max Kepler and Adrianza had RBI singles against Glenn Sparkman (0-3). Rosario tacked on his team-leading 23rd home run leading off the eighth.
GONSALVES STRUGGLES AGAIN
The Twins gave Gonsalves an early lead on Adrianza’s two-run single in the second, but the Royals knocked him out with a six-run outburst in the third. Gonsalves, one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, got through the first two innings without much trouble, but the second time through the order was a different story.
After No. 9 hitter Cam Gallagher flew out to start the third, the next five batters reached base against Gonsalves. Alex Gordon’s two-run double tied the score at 2-2, and two batters later Bonifacio singled home Gordon to end the left-hander’s night.
Gonsalves is now 0-2 with an 11.68 ERA in four starts since being called up Aug. 20. He walked three batters Friday, giving him 13 walks in 12 1/3 innings. He said it’s been hard to concentrate on getting batters out while also trying to make progress with the mechanical work he’s been doing with Twins pitching coach Garvin Alston.
“I’ve been working with Garvin on something new every week,” Gonsalves said, “and I think my mind’s on that — mechanics, instead of competing.”
Molitor thinks some of Gonsalves’ issues are a product of better competition.
“He’s had some stretches earlier this year in particular (in Triple-A) where he was able to pitch around some of the command issues that he had,” Molitor said. “But up here, the margin for error is a little different. You’ve got guys who are going to battle when they’ve got two strikes and they’re not going to expand as much as maybe down there. Some of those small differences play out differently up here.”
The Twins dealt Royals starter Heath Fillmyer a fate similar to Gonsalves’ in the bottom of the third, knocking him out as five of the first six batters reached base. Jake Cave hit an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch to tie it at 6.
“I didn’t work ahead of anybody. I didn’t execute as well as I should have,” Fillmyer said. “Some of those things end up happening when you don’t execute as fine as you want.”
ALMOST A HAT TRICK
Perez greeted reliever Alan Busenitz with a three-run homer into the bullpens in left-center. His 24th home run of the season gave the Royals a 6-2 lead in the third inning. Perez also hit two high fly balls that backed Twins left fielder Rosario to the wall before they came up just short of the fence.
Perez now has 17 career home runs at Target Field, the most of any Twins opponent.
Royals: OF Brett Phillips is day-to-day with a shoulder contusion he suffered running into the wall in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Twins: Rosario returned to the lineup after missing six games with sore quadriceps, but 3B Miguel Sano remained sidelined with a lower left leg bruise suffered on Tuesday in Houston.
Royals: In the second game of the series Saturday evening, RHP Jorge Lopez (1-4, 2.24 ERA) makes his fifth start for the Royals since being acquired from Milwaukee in the Mike Moustakas deal. His last time out he held the Orioles to one run over seven innings while striking out eight in a 9-1 victory.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (11-10, 3.92), the Twins’ lone 2018 All-Star, will try to turn it around against the Royals. In his last seven starts he’s 1-3 with a 5.67 ERA.
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