Coming off a disappointing homestand, and on the edge of the AL wild-card race, the Kansas City Royals can’t afford to let too many more opportunities slip away.
The defending World Series champions regained their winning touch Monday, despite Brian Dozier hitting three home runs for Minnesota. The Royals got homers from Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer to pull away from the Twins 11-5.
Jarrod Dyson had three hits and scored three times for Kansas City, which won for the second time in six games.
”We put ourselves in a tough position, but we still believe that we can pull this thing off,” Hosmer said.
Kansas City started the day four games out of the second wild-card spot.
The Royals went 2-4 in their last six games with New York and Detroit, with each of the losses a close one.
”We could be talking about a major run right here. We quite possibly could have been 6-0 at home,” manager Ned Yost said. ”We still feel that we’re not out of this thing by any stretch of the imagination.”
Dozier homered on the first pitch from Ian Kennedy (10-9), then hit a two-run shot in the third and a solo drive into the upper deck in the eighth. Dozier became the sixth Minnesota player to hit three home runs in a game, and the first to do it at home.
Dozier has eight home runs in seven games and 38 this season, the most by a Twins player since Harmon Killebrew hit 41 in 1970. Dozier’s 10 home runs against Kansas City this year are the most ever by a Royals opponent.
”It would be better to be on the winning side of it,” Dozier said.
Kennedy struggled with command, allowing four earned runs in 5 1-3 innings but is 4-0 in his past five starts.
Morales hit a three-run drive off Jose Berrios (2-5) in the fifth for a 5-4 lead. Hosmer, who had four RBIs, hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
Berrios was called up from Triple-A to start. The Royals tagged him for five earned runs on nine hits in five innings.
Considered the Twins’ top pitching prospect, Berrios allowed 21 earned runs in 22 innings over five August starts before being sent down.
Dozier has hit a majors-most 24 home runs since the All-Star break. He’s connected 36 times as a second baseman and twice as a designated hitter. The AL record for homers in a season by a second baseman is 39 by Alfonso Soriano in 2002 for the Yankees.
”The best way to (get him out) is don’t throw fastballs down the middle and that’s what we did,” Yost said.
Dozier became the second Twins player with a three-homer game this year. Rookie Max Kepler did it at Cleveland.