Brian Dozier guides Minnesota Twins past Kansas City Royals

By Dan Myers, The Sports Xchange
Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/55fec2ec9745d384603b5823f7143ef8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Dozier is making a habit of hitting home runs in bunches. The Minnesota second baseman didn't homer Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals but he did all the little things as the Twins won 6-5 in the finale of a three-game series at Target Field.

Robbie Grossman and Byron Buxton provided the power for the Twins, while Dozier pitched in a fantastic defensive play and a heads-up play on the basepaths when he stole second during Minnesota's seventh-inning rally.


"I don't know the last time he had a single was," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "(Dozier) didn't homer, but he created a run for us with a good at-bat. It paid off when he instinctively stole second base."

With the Royals leading by two, a man on and one out in the fifth inning, Eric Hosmer's sharp grounder looked as if it had a chance to run the gap. But Dozier dived to his right, flipped the ball out of his glove to shortstop Jorge Polanco at second for one, and Polanco threw to first for the 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning.


"We talk about it all the time, but a defensive play to save a run is just as good as hitting a home run," Dozier said. "And the pitching staff loves that kind of stuff, especially double plays. I probably shouldn't have glove-flipped it, but it looked good."

The Twins trailed by a run in the seventh when Dozier led off the inning with a single. After his steal of second, he scored on Miguel Sano's double off the right field wall to tie the game. A walk and a fielder's choice moved Sano to third base, and he scampered home with the lead run.

Buxton tacked on an important run on his solo blast in the eighth inning. It was Buxton's fourth home run since being recalled from Triple-A on Sept. 1. He also doubled and scored a pair of runs.

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"I feel more comfortable," Buxton said. "I still have learning to do, but I feel confident, feel prepared and I feel ready."

The homer ended up being critical.

In the ninth, the Royals got a one-out double from Whit Merrifield, who came around to score on a two-out single by Jarrod Dyson. Dyson moved into scoring position on the throw but was stranded when Twins closer Brandon Kintzler got Paulo Orlando to pop out to first.


Kintzler recorded his 14th save of the season.

Alex Wimmers (1-1) pitched an inning of shutout relief to secure his first major league victory.

Soria (4-8) allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning, taking a loss for the third time in his past five appearances.

Grossman had three hits and finished a triple short of the cycle in his first start since Aug. 26.

Kendrys Morales homered and finished with three hits for Kansas City. Drew Butera hit his third home run.

Morales finished the series against Minnesota with four home runs, six hits and 10 RBIs. He has hit safely in 10 consecutive games.

"He's been fantastic, really fantastic" Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Just putting together great, productive, run-producing at-bats, and we need that, we need a guy to carry us, and he sure is right now."

Neither starter figured into the final decision.

Kansas City's Danny Duffy lasted six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and no walks while striking out 10.

"I felt like I had really good stuff tonight. I executed about as well as I could," Duffy said. "Grossman is seeing the ball really well off me this year. I gotta figure something else out against him."


Minnesota's Kyle Gibson also went six innings, surrendering four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out four.

An RBI single by Grossman drove in Sano and gave the Twins a 1-0 lead after one inning.

Kansas City started the fourth inning with back-to-back hits, the second an RBI single by Morales that scored Hosmer to tie the game. Later in the inning, Merrifield singled to left, driving in Morales to give the Royals the lead.

Butera's homer leading off the fifth pushed Kansas City's advantage to two runs before the Twins capitalized on a leadoff double by Buxton in the bottom half of the inning. After nearly squandering the opportunity with a fly out and a strikeout, Buxton scored to make it 3-2 when Sano reached on a throwing error by Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar.

NOTES: Royals C Salvador Perez did not play one night after being hit on the wrist by a pitch. Perez had a more extensive X-ray done Wednesday and it confirmed no fracture. He could return to the lineup Friday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe was diagnosed with a strained intercostal and oblique on his left side. He could try to return for the final week of games but is likely to miss the remainder of the season. ... The Royals will begin a three-game series Friday against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Kansas City sends RHP Yordano Ventura to the mound against Chicago LHP Carlos Rodon. ... The Twins continue a 10-game homestand Friday with a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians. RHP Tyler Duffey pitches for Minnesota against Cleveland RHP Danny Salazar.


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