The Kansas City Royals will try and find a way to slow down Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins when the teams play the middle contest of a three-game series Tuesday night at Target Field.
Dozier hit three home runs in the series opener Monday afternoon and has 10 against Kansas City this season, the most ever allowed to an opponent by the Royals. No other Kansas City opponent ever hit more than eight homers in a year.
Despite the offensive outburst by Dozier, the Twins were unable to back him up with any pitching as Kansas City took the game 11-5.
“He’s so hot right now, you make a mistake and he’s not missing it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The best way to (get him out) is not to throw fastballs down the middle. That’s what we did.”
Dozier became the first Twin since Harmon Killebrew in 1970 to surpass 35 home runs in a single season, boosting his season total to 38, which ranks second in the majors.
Dozier has homered in 18 of the past 35 games he has played in. He has 24 homers since the All-Star break and has hit at least one over the fence in four consecutive games, blasting six total in those games.
“You don’t see runs like this very often,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “They just keep coming. He did what he could to give us a chance today.”
Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales homered Monday, and Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando all earned praise from Yost for how they have played of late. Escobar, Dyson and Orlando combined for seven hits in the series opener.
“Key at-bats, good at-bats by everybody,” Yost said.
After the Royals had a disappointing 2-4 homestand against the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, one in which Yost said he thought his club deserved a better fate, starting a six-game road trip with a win was paramount.
The Royals trail the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers by four games for the second American League wild-card spot, and Kansas City’s next 13 games are against teams that are currently under .500.
“We definitely have a run left in us,” Yost said. “Our guys are playing hard, they’re getting after it. We still feel like we’re not out of this by any stretch of the imagination.”
Right-hander Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.33 ERA) will get the nod for the Royals on Tuesday. He allowed one run on four hits and a walk in six innings in his last start against the New York Yankees on Aug. 29, earning the victory. He allowed one run on five hits in seven innings against the Twins on Aug. 18 at Kauffman Stadium but is 1-2 in three starts vs. Minnesota in 2016.
Former Royals right-hander Ervin Santana (7-10, 3.54 ERA) will start for the Twins after a tightrope act against the Chicago White Sox his last time out. The right-hander allowed 11 hits but just two runs in five innings, stranding 10 White Sox in helping the Twins snap their 13-game losing skid.
He is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three starts against Kansas City this year.