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Red-hot Dozier's HR leads way in Twins' win

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a forgettable road trip that saw the Twins lose eight of nine against the White Sox, Cubs and Brewers, they took care of business against the last-place Orioles and Royals, winning six of seven at Target Field.

Right-hander Lance Lynn gave up four runs (three earned) over five-plus innings in the series finale on Wednesday, but the offense overcame an early three-run deficit, while Brian Dozier and Logan Morrison homered in an 8-5 win over Kansas City. The Twins are still clinging to hope they can contend in the AL Central -- they trail the Indians by eight games, pending Cleveland's result Wednesday night -- but if they do sell, Lynn, Dozier and Morrison could be trade candidates because of their impending free agency.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- After a forgettable road trip that saw the Twins lose eight of nine against the White Sox, Cubs and Brewers, they took care of business against the last-place Orioles and Royals, winning six of seven at Target Field.

Right-hander Lance Lynn gave up four runs (three earned) over five-plus innings in the series finale on Wednesday, but the offense overcame an early three-run deficit, while Brian Dozier and Logan Morrison homered in an 8-5 win over Kansas City. The Twins are still clinging to hope they can contend in the AL Central -- they trail the Indians by eight games, pending Cleveland's result Wednesday night -- but if they do sell, Lynn, Dozier and Morrison could be trade candidates because of their impending free agency.

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"When you look at where we're at and what's going on, we've got to make a push now or we're going to kind of be in there where we're having too much to chew off at the end," Lynn said. "So we've got to get going, and we know that."

Video: KC@MIN: Lynn fans Merrifield for first strikeout

Dozier, in particular, has been heating up of late, homering in three of his last four games, while also carrying a six-game hitting streak. He went 3-for-5, including smacking a two-run homer in the sixth that stretched Minnesota's lead to three runs. Dozier has historically heated up later in the season, including his 28 homers after the All-Star break in '16.

"Everything feels good, has for a long time now -- you just ride the wave," Dozier said. "We've played some good baseball here lately. Six out of the last seven. This homestand, coming in we knew we had to do some damage. But still got a little ways to go, couple more games before the break."

Dozier added he believes the Twins are still in the division race and isn't worried about the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, roughly three weeks out.

"You can make that up less than a week, can't you?" Dozier said. "Especially with the way we're playing, go to war with these guys down the stretch. It's going to be fun."

Morrison has yet to get on track this season, which is likely to make him difficult to trade, but crushed a solo shot two batters after Dozier in the sixth. It left the bat at 107.5 mph, traveling a projected 417 feet into the upper deck in right field, per Statcast™.

Video: KC@MIN: Morrison crushes a solo homer to right field

Lynn was hurt by the Twins' defense in the first, as shortstop Jorge Polanco dropped a flip from Dozier that could have started an inning-ending double play. Instead, Salvador Perez connected on a three-run homer to give the Royals an early lead.

Lynn also gave up a solo homer to Mike Moustakas in the third and left with two runners on in the sixth. He improved to 7-7 with a 5.22 ERA but has a 3.67 ERA over his last 10 starts.

"I've been pitching better as of late," Lynn said. "I've had a little hiccup here and there, but for the most part after mid-May I've been my normal self."

The Twins chipped away at the early deficit against right-hander Burch Smith, scoring twice in the second with Jake Cave connecting on an RBI triple and scoring on a single from Bobby Wilson.

Video: KC@MIN: Cave drives in Kepler with a triple

Minnesota took the lead for good with a three-run fourth, keyed by an RBI double from Wilson. After Eddie Rosario was intentionally walked to load the bases for Dozier with two outs, Dozier hit a soft roller down the third-base line to score Cave. Reliever Glenn Sparkman's throw sailed past first base to bring home Wilson.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pressly escapes jam: Lynn departed with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth and reliever Ryan Pressly promptly plunked Alcides Escobar to load the bases. But Pressly was able to get out of the jam, striking out Adalberto Mondesi and Drew Butera before getting Whit Merrifield to fly out to right.

"We loaded 'em up without giving up a hit," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "But a couple of big strikeouts and the flyout to keep the lead, so that was critical."

Video: KC@MIN: Pressly get out of bases-loaded jam in 6th

SOUND SMART
Wilson improved to 7-for-11 with 12 RBIs with a runner on third base this season after he went 2-for-2 in those situations on Wednesday. Wilson is 5-for-47 (.106) with nobody on base this year, but is 7-for-24 (.292) with runners in scoring position.

HE SAID IT
"We have an urgency to win every day. That doesn't matter what time of year it is when it comes to trades. That's for you guys to talk. We don't pay attention to it, so whatever happens, happens. In this game I've learned that you go where you told, because they pay you. That's just the way it works. Unless you've got a no-trade clause. Then you can tell 'em, 'No. No thanks. I'm good.' I don't know if anyone has one. Maybe Joe [Mauer]? So everyone else can just wear it and do what they're told." -- Lynn, on the Twins potentially being sellers

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Twins won a challenge in the second inning that led to two runs, as Max Kepler was originally ruled out at first on a grounder to third. After a review, the call was overturned, and Kepler was safe. He later scored on an RBI triple from Cave, then Cave scored on Wilson's single. Shortly after the ruling, second-base umpire Will Little left the game in the second inning because his wife went into labor. A three-man umpiring crew was used the rest of the game.

Video: KC@MIN: Kepler safe at first after overturned call

UP NEXT
The Twins finish the first half of the season with a four-game series against the Rays that begins on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-6, 3.59 ERA) starts for the Twins and is coming off a strong outing against the Orioles, allowing three runs over seven innings with nine strikeouts. The Rays counter with lefty Blake Snell (12-4, 2.09), who leads the American League in ERA.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn