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Twins' bullpen can't make Buxton's HR stand

Pressly, Boshers labor in decisive 3-run 8th against Royals
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

KANSAS CITY -- Everything looked like it was going the Twins' way yet again, as Byron Buxton proved he can provide power despite playing with a bruised left hand and entering Saturday's game against the Royals mired in an 0-for-20 slump.

Buxton worked his way back from an 0-2 count to homer on the 10th pitch of the at-bat against Jakob Junis to give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the sixth, only to see Jose Berrios serve up a tying solo homer to Alex Gordon in the seventh and the bullpen surrender three runs in the eighth in a 5-2 loss to the Royals that snapped a three-game win streak in a crucial series at Kauffman Stadium.

Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- Everything looked like it was going the Twins' way yet again, as Byron Buxton proved he can provide power despite playing with a bruised left hand and entering Saturday's game against the Royals mired in an 0-for-20 slump.

Buxton worked his way back from an 0-2 count to homer on the 10th pitch of the at-bat against Jakob Junis to give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the sixth, only to see Jose Berrios serve up a tying solo homer to Alex Gordon in the seventh and the bullpen surrender three runs in the eighth in a 5-2 loss to the Royals that snapped a three-game win streak in a crucial series at Kauffman Stadium.

Full Game Coverage

"I'm just trying to do what I can and not overdo it," Buxton said. "He left a fastball back over the middle of the plate, and I had enough time to react to it and put a good swing on it. I just want to go out and play as much as I can so it's something I just have to deal with."

Video: MIN@KC: Buxton crushes a solo home run to deep left

But Buxton's heroics were for naught, especially with the 'pen struggling in the eighth with top setup reliever Trevor Hildenberger and closer Matt Belisle unavailable after pitching in three straight games. Twins manager Paul Molitor went to Ryan Pressly, who had a 1.37 ERA over his previous 15 outings, to open the inning, but Pressly surrendered a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain before walking Melky Cabrera.

Video: MIN@KC: Hosmer knocks go-ahead RBI single to center

Left-hander Buddy Boshers came in and promptly gave up a go-ahead RBI single to Eric Hosmer on the first pitch to give the Royals a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Molitor said fellow lefty Taylor Rogers was available after pitching in three of the past four games, and Rogers did come in later in the inning, but Molitor felt more comfortable with Boshers in that situation.

"You always plan before the game, and we knew a couple people were down today," Molitor said. "We tried to use guys as best as we could. We had it planned out in the eighth, but it got out to a bad start with an 0-2 hit and a walk. We fought uphill after that."

It continued to worsen for the Twins with Tyler Duffey surrendering an RBI double to Salvador Perez and Alan Busenitz giving up a sacrifice fly to Alcides Escobar. Five relievers were used in the inning for matchup reasons, but it didn't work out.

"We turned it over to the bullpen and we had a tough time," Molitor said. "These are professional hitters who take good at-bats and know our tendencies. They know which guys they'll get breaking balls from. It just spiraled out of control there and they put up a three-spot."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton