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Fillmyer rebounds with solid start to beat Twins

Right-hander fans six in 7 1/3 innings; Perez, Bonifacio homer back-to-back
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- As auditions go for the 2019 Royals rotation, right-hander Heath Fillmyer added a bit more to his resume on Thursday night.

A week after getting roughed up by the Twins for six runs in 2 1/3 innings, Fillmyer came back strong against these same Twins, going a career-high 7 1/3 innings in the Royals' 6-4 win at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- As auditions go for the 2019 Royals rotation, right-hander Heath Fillmyer added a bit more to his resume on Thursday night.

A week after getting roughed up by the Twins for six runs in 2 1/3 innings, Fillmyer came back strong against these same Twins, going a career-high 7 1/3 innings in the Royals' 6-4 win at Kauffman Stadium.

View Full Game Coverage

Fillmyer also gave up three runs to the Twins in a three-inning start in early August.

"My first two starts against them didn't go too well," Fillmyer said. "I kinda wanted to give everything I got and redeem myself in a way. I definitely wanted this one, for sure."

Fillmyer made one mistake early, a fastball down and in to Jake Cave in the second inning. Cave golfed a two-run shot to right-center and the Twins had a 2-0 lead. From there, Fillmyer gave up just one more hit until he reached the eighth, when he allowed a double and a single.

Video: MIN@KC: Yost on Filmyer's start, bullpen in 6-4 win

"He threw the ball really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Fillmyer. "We wanted to get him through the eighth, but he started to labor. I hesitate to call this a mistake, but he made one -- he was trying to go down and away to Cave and pulled it and left it middle-in."

Unfortunately for Fillmyer, the Royals' bullpen allowed both runners to score to put a smidge on his line as he was charged with four runs overall. But he tied a career high with six strikeouts.

Video: MIN@KC: Merrifield scores from 1st on Polanco error

Meanwhile, the Royals' speed took advantage of some sloppy Twins defense in the fifth. With Whit Merrifield on first and two outs, Adalberto Mondesi sent a hard grounder to shortstop Jorge Polanco. The ball caromed off Polanco's glove and into short right-center, which started the merry-go-round -- Merrifield scored all the way from first and Mondesi sped to third.

The Royals took the lead with a four-run sixth, sparked by back-to-back home runs from Salvador Perez (No. 25) and Jorge Bonifacio (No. 3). Perez's home run was a two-run shot.

Video: MIN@KC: Perez and Bonifacio launch back-to-back jacks

"He continues to improve as a power hitter," Yost said. "He gets better every year. That was a huge hit for us to give us the lead."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Twins, having already scored two runs in the eighth inning to pull to within one at 5-4, had two runners on and two out when recently acquired left-hander Jerry Vasto was called on to face Cave. Vasto fed Cave a steady diet of sliders and got Cave to ground out to second, preserving the lead.

"He's from New Jersey, so I know he'll be fine," said Fillmyer, another New Jersey native.

Added Yost, "What we've seen from Vasto is he is definitely a strike thrower. He attacks the zone and gets ahead in the count. That inning was really starting to go sideways."

• Willians Astudillo takes piggyback ride in the dugout

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jorge Lopez (2-4, 3.72 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the second game of the series against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium at 7:15 p.m. CT. Right-hander Jose Berrios (11-11, 3.83) will pitch for the Twins. Last Saturday against Minnesota, Lopez became the first Royal in franchise history to carry a perfect game into the ninth inning. Lopez lost the perfect game, the no-hitter and the shutout, but still got a 4-1 win.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Heath Fillmyer