KANSAS CITY -- Making his first start since 2015, Royals left-hander Travis Wood provided a solid outing, and a tired Royals bullpen pitched five scoreless frames as Kansas City beat Minnesota, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.Wood, who had made 25 appearances out of the bullpen this season, threw
KANSAS CITY -- Making his first start since 2015, Royals left-hander Travis Wood provided a solid outing, and a tired Royals bullpen pitched five scoreless frames as Kansas City beat Minnesota, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Wood, who had made 25 appearances out of the bullpen this season, threw 81 pitches, the most he has thrown since May 14, 2015. He gave the Royals four scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the fifth.
"Wood did a phenomenal job today and we really needed it," Whit Merrifield said.
Once Wood allowed the first three batters in the fifth inning to reach base, left-hander Scott Alexander, pitching on consecutive days for the first time this season, pitched out of the inning and tossed a scoreless sixth to earn his first Major League win.
Peter Moylan, Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera retired nine of the Twins' last 11 batters as the Royals tied the Twins for second in the American League Central. Of Kansas City's four relievers, Moylan was the only one who didn't pitch in Saturday's doubleheader.
"We didn't know how we were going to get through [the game] with the rest of the bullpen because it was awfully thin," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Coming off a rain-shortened, two-inning start -- his first since returning from the disabled list -- Twins left-hander Hector Santiago, who took the loss, gave up four runs before being lifted with one out in the fourth inning.
"I thought it was a quick leash," said Santiago, who threw 58 pitches. "I felt like I threw a lot of strike ones and attacked the zone. But we played a shift, and a ball dropped in that would've ending the inning. Just a little unlucky there. Short on the pitch count and I don't know what went into all that. Obviously, coming back after a short start maybe played into that, but I thought I was throwing well and didn't see that coming."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double play saves the day: Down 5-0, the Twins scored two runs off Wood in the fifth inning before a double play stopped the scoring threat. With one out and the bases loaded, Eduardo Escobar hit Alexander's sinker to Merrifield at second base. Merrifield tossed the ball to Alcides Escobar, who tagged second and threw to first, turning a double play that ended the inning. The Twins didn't reach base again until the ninth inning.
Hosmer's unlikely hit: With two outs in the third inning, Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double to right field that had a 26 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. The Twins had shifted their outfield toward left field, but Hosmer pulled the ball. It landed where right fielder Robbie Grossman likely would have been had there not been a shift in place. Hosmer soon scored on a single by Salvador Perez, and the Royals took a 3-0 lead.
"I didn't know he was that far over," Santiago said. "I tried to get weak contact with a slow curveball. When it went up, I thought it was a fly ball to right field and then you look up and nobody is there. And then you throw a good pitch to Salvy, and he bloops it over the shortstop."
"We're going to have to figure out the best way to go forward. Not a lot of innings from him since he was on the DL with the rain delay and the short outing today. We have a lot of evaluating to do this week about the first half." -- Molitor, on if Santiago will stick in the rotation
Twins: After their three-city road trip, the Twins return home to Target Field to host the Angels for a three-game series that begins at 7:10 p.m. CT on Monday. Left-hander Adalberto Mejia (3-3, 4.38 ERA) is set to start for Minnesota, and is coming off a strong start against the Red Sox, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (2-6, 4.72 ERA) will head to the mound when the Royals open a three-game series in Seattle on Monday at 9:10 p.m. CT. Kennedy gave up two runs over seven innings in his last start. It was the first time Kennedy had pitched seven innings since April 22.
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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.