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De Jong falters as road woes continue for Twins

Molitor ejected for arguing over squeeze play; Littell exits with blister issue
September 15, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- The road hasn't been kind to the Twins this season, and their trip to Kansas City thus far has served as the latest example.Minnesota fell to 0-3 to begin its 10-game road swing with a 10-3 loss to the Royals on Saturday as starter Chase De Jong

KANSAS CITY -- The road hasn't been kind to the Twins this season, and their trip to Kansas City thus far has served as the latest example.
Minnesota fell to 0-3 to begin its 10-game road swing with a 10-3 loss to the Royals on Saturday as starter Chase De Jong lasted just 3 1/3 innings and the offense couldn't do much against Royals starter Ian Kennedy.
While they have a strong home record of 43-31, the Twins' road record sank to 24-50 with the loss.
Manager Paul Molitor and third base coach Gene Glynn weren't around to watch the latter portion of Saturday's game. Both were ejected after arguing about a fourth-inning squeeze bunt sequence by Kansas City, in which the Royals had a runner hung up between third and home, but managed to score the run when a throw home by third baseman Gregorio Petit hit Alcides Escobar and caromed away.

The objection from Molitor and Glynn centered around whether Cam Gallagher had offered at the pitch with a bunt attempt.
"We didn't execute the play, and that's what probably had my emotions high," Molitor said. "They are giving us an out there. Take a runner out of scoring position, and we can't execute. "

The Royals wound up with four runs in the fourth for a 6-1 lead and cruised the rest of the way.
"Petit got caught charging a little bit once [Gallagher] squared around," Molitor said. "He was backpedaling and the throw [from catcher Willians Astudillo] was high. But you don't compound one bad throw with another bad throw. I thought Gregorio probably rushed a little bit. I thought he had time to set and throw."
De Jong, making his second start for the Twins, didn't have nearly as much success as last Sunday, when he threw four shutout innings against the Royals at Target Field. This time out, he allowed five runs (three earned) while striking out four.
De Jong allowed eight hits, but the big positive was that he didn't allow a walk.

"It was just one of those nights in baseball where they were just putting the ball right where they needed to and they were falling for hits," De Jong said. "I felt really good tonight. I just don't think my line is going to tell the whole story."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Littell exits: Right-hander Zack Littell had to leave Saturday's game after a blister on his right index finger got worse as he was pitching. The reliever worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits.
"Not worth making it any worse," Littell said.
Twins proceeding with caution with Garver
Tough start: Both teams had leadoff doubles in the opening frame, but after Joe Mauer doubled in the top of the first, the Twins were set down without moving Mauer along. Whit Merrifield led off the Royals' first with a double, advanced on Raul Mondesi's grounder to second and scored on Alex Gordon's grounder toward second base.
"We were trying to get a crooked number," Molitor said. "I just didn't feel like one run was something I wanted to play for there."

HE SAID IT
"He threw some decent breakers and changeups that he mixed in. I tried to let him go as long as he could if he was keeping us in the game. Then, things got a little crazy in the fourth, and we went ahead and got [Gabriel Moya] in there." -- Molitor, on De Jong's performance
UP NEXT
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-13, 3.67 ERA) will make the start for the final game of the season series at 1:15 p.m. CT. Gibson is thoroughly familiar with the Royals, as this will be his 18th career start against Kansas City. Gibson took the loss his last time out against the Yankees, allowing four hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. The Royals will go with right-hander Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.28 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts against Minnesota this year.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.