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Twins get back to .500 with Royals sweep - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Twins get back to .500 with Royals sweep

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Kansas City Royals reliever Wade Davis was self-loathing halfway up the third-base line when the hard-throwing right-hander's awful throwing error went from bad to worse, allowing Minnesota to walk away with a gift-wrapped victory.

The Twins scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning Sunday afternoon for a 4-3 victory that secured a three-game series sweep at Target Field, scratching their way back to .500 in unlikely fashion.

They stacked up three walks to load the bases with only one out. Davis was poised to snuff the threat with a home-to-first double play. He cleanly fielded Chris Herrmann's tapper but sailed the throw to the plate, allowing Pedro Florimon to score the tying run.


Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks makes the catch on a drive by Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer during the first inning Sunday at Target Field. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

Angry about his gaffe, Davis had his head down and was yelling at himself as Brian Dozier was tearing around third. Davis stopped pouting and sprinted to the plate for catcher Salvador Perez's underhanded toss.

But Dozier beat him to the plate and slid under Davis' late tag to punctuate a two-run winning rally that did not receive the benefit of a single hit.

"You've got to be aggressive," Dozier said. "I saw the throw. I saw Davis just hanging out a good 10 yards away from the (plate) so I thought might as well take a shot."

Dozier said with one out he "most definitely" would have held up at third if Davis had immediately covered the plate.

"When you look up and round the base and see that nobody's covering home, you've got to be aggressive, take a shot," he said. "Might as well."

After outscoring Kansas City 17-2 for two games with suffocating starting pitching and brawny hitting, the Twins took a more nuanced approach at the plate.

They only managed five hits off Royals starter Jason Vargas and a pair of relievers. But they also worked Kansas City for six walks and now lead the majors with 59 bases on balls.

Josmil Pinto's two-run home run off Vargas broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, hammering a 3-1 fastball into the left-field bleachers for his third homer of the year. The two-run burst broke the ice on what had been a pitching duel between Vargas and Kevin Correia.

However, Kansas City answered in the eighth.

Correia walked Mike Moustakas on four pitches to start the inning and quickly unraveled. Consecutive singles by Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar made it 2-1 and chased Minnesota's starter.

Reliever Brian Duensing threw out Nori Aoki on the leadoff hitter's bunt, but the sacrifice produced the tying run.

Duensing then yielded a two-out double to Eric Hosmer, whose deep drive over the head of center fielder Aaron Hicks scored Escobar and gave the Royals their brief lead.

"It's something that shouldn't really happen with a two-run lead," Correia lamented about the leadoff walk to Moustakas. "I'm not going to think about it too much now. If we ended up losing the game, it definitely would have stung more."

Correia was charged with all three runs on six hits, but his seven-inning start continued the upward trend of the Twins' rotation. Kyle Gibson and Ricky Nolasco allowed just two earned runs in the first two games after Minnesota's rotation entered the series with a major-league worst 6.89 ERA.

"Subconsciously, you see guys starting to throw the ball well and it helps you throw the ball well, if you're watching positive results," Correia said. "It's hard to shut a team down three games in a row like that."

The victory brought the Twins (6-6) back to .500 after the Oakland A's swept their home-opening series. Countering with a three-game sweep of their own was not exactly in the cards.

Entering the weekend, Kansas City had won 15 of 19 games in the head-to-head series, including seven straight at Target Field.

"It's about winning series and winning ballgames," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's a nice one. That's a team that's handled us the last couple years. Taking care of our home field and getting back to winning baseball is really important to us. A nice sweep."

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