Archive for Saturday, August 5, 2006

Wildness proves K.C.’s undoing

Royals’ pitchers walk 12; go-ahead run scores on wild pitch

August 5, 2006

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— The Minnesota Twins knew Detroit, Chicago, New York and Boston already had won Friday night, and they were trailing the last-place Kansas City Royals by two runs in the ninth inning.

Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer hit home runs in the ninth to tie it, and Jason Bartlett scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 10th as the Twins rallied for an 8-5 victory.

"You have to do it this time of year," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Everybody is looking at the scoreboard. I think every team that we're in this race with won. You've got to find ways to win, and this ball team is pretty resilient."

Six Royals pitchers walked 12, and Scott Dohmann's wild pitch in the 10th was the staff's 64th this season, which leads the major leagues.

Dohmann (0-1), who was acquired in a trade Monday with Colorado, gave up a leadoff single in the 10th to Bartlett. After he was sacrificed to second, there was another out before Dohmann walked Mauer intentionally and Cuddyer unintentionally to load the bases. He then threw the wild pitch to break the tie, and Torii Hunter's single scored Mauer and Cuddyer.

"Bottom line is, win ballgames," Cuddyer said. "It doesn't matter how you do it. If it is ugly, pretty, come-from-behind, stay out with the lead the whole time, however it is, win. Tonight we did that. It wasn't a pretty one, but we got the victory, and that's what we needed."

Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer, left, Jason Bartlett, center, and Nick Punto celebrate after scoring on a three-run double by Justin Morneau. The Twins defeated the Royals, 8-5 in 10 innings, Friday night in Kansas City, Mo.

Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer, left, Jason Bartlett, center, and Nick Punto celebrate after scoring on a three-run double by Justin Morneau. The Twins defeated the Royals, 8-5 in 10 innings, Friday night in Kansas City, Mo.

The Royals took a 5-3 lead into the ninth, but closer Ambiorix Burgos could not hold it, giving up home runs to Mauer, who leads the majors with a .365 average, and Cuddyer, the first two batters he faced. It was Burgos' 10th blown save in 26 opportunities.

"I pitched behind in the count," Burgos said. "It's no way to pitch. They were right in the middle, not up or down."

Mauer hit a 3-1 pitch out to right. Three pitches later, Cuddyer hit a line drive out to left.

"I was able to get in a good hitter's count, 2-0," Cuddyer said. "I could sit on one pitch, in one place, and fortunately I got it, and I didn't miss it. I was definitely looking for a fastball. I was fortunate to get it in a zone that I could handle it and put a good swing on it. I didn't think that was going to be out. I didn't think that was high enough to be a homer, especially in this park. I thought it was going to be off the wall."

The Twins have won six straight road games for the first time since April 26-May 8, 2005.

Left-hander Dennys Reyes (3-0) worked two-thirds of an inning for the victory, while Joe Nathan pitched the 10th for his 23rd save in 24 chances.

Twins starter Johan Santana, who was 6-0 with a 1.96 earned-run average in his previous eight starts against the Royals, gave up four runs and four hits, all in the Royals' fourth. He struck out eight, hiking his major-league-leading total to 168.

"It's going to happen some time," Santana said of the one bad inning. "You are doing your job, and all of a sudden one inning and a couple of pitches changes the whole game."

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