KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After getting swept on the road by Kansas City and Baltimore, the Minnesota Twins can’t wait to play Monday at Target Field.
Pinch runner Terrance Gore streaked home on a wild pitch with two outs in the 10th inning, sending the Royals to a 4-3 win over the Twins.
The World Series champion Royals rallied for two runs in the ninth, and then handed the Twins their sixth straight loss to begin the season. It’s Minnesota’s worst start since the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities in 1961.
“We needed that one,” said Ricky Nolasco, who limited the Royals to one run and three hits over seven innings. “It’s a little tough to swallow. But it’s a long season, so we’ll go back to Minnesota and get off the road here and relax and start winning some ballgames. So, hopefully we can win the series against the White Sox and get this thing going.”
The Twins started last season 1-6 and wound up winning 83 games to finish second to the Royals in the AL Central.
“Nobody ever wants to be in that situation, but we’ve been there before, so there’s no panic,” Nolasco said. “We’ve just got to tighten some things up and turn this thing around. We can’t afford to lose too many more before winning a few. A nice little win streak here and we’ll relax and get this thing going.”
Twins closer Glen Perkins was trusted with a 3-1 lead in the ninth, but he was unable to hold on. He yielded an RBI triple to Eric Hosmer, who scored the tying run on Kendrys Morales’ sacrifice fly.
“I just couldn’t make a pitch to get those guys out,” Perkins said. “I had Hosmer 0-2 and I had Morales 0-2. I need to get those guys out. I didn’t get them out in that situation. It’s 0-2; that’s a strikeout.
“They put pressure on you. That’s their thing. They don’t strike out much. You see what happens when you don’t strike out. They manage to put the ball in play and things happen.”
Christian Colon drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Trevor May (0-1). Gore then made his first appearance of the season, running for Colon, and dashed to third on May’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt.
May retired the next two batters and issued a walk. With a 1-2 count on Lorenzo Cain, May threw a breaking ball that bounced off catcher John Ryan Murphy’s chest protector and skittered to the right side of the plate.
Gore beat Murphy’s throw to May covering the plate. May slammed down his hand in frustration after Gore scored.
Wade Davis (1-0) picked up the victory.
Eduardo Nunez went 4 for 4 for Twins, matching his career high in hits.
Miguel Sano and Nunez each had an RBI single in the sixth against Edinson Volquez, who struck out 10 and walked none in 5 2-3 innings. It was Volquez’s first game with at least 10 strikeouts since Sept. 25, 2014, for Pittsburgh at Atlanta.
Joe Mauer went 3 for 3, was hit by a pitch and walked intentionally in the ninth. The Twins star is hitting .344 in 83 career games at Kauffman Stadium.
Brian Dozier homered off Luke Hochevar in the seventh for the other Minnesota run.
The Twins loaded the bases on a bunt single, error and two walks in the ninth, but Dillon Gee struck out Byung Ho Park to end the threat. It was Park’s fourth strikeout.
The Twins struck out 37 times in 105 at-bats in the three-game series. They have struck out 72 times in 202 at-bats for the season.
Twins: OF Danny Santana was put on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled right hamstring. He was injured Saturday.
The Twins recalled OF Max Kepler, the 2015 Southern League MVP, from Triple-A Rochester to replace Santana. Kepler, 23, was born in Berlin and in 2009 was given an $800,000 signing bonus, which at the time was a record for a European position player.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson will start the home opener against the White Sox.
Royals: RHP Chris Young will start at Houston, the first road game for the defending World Series champs. The Astros will counter with RHP Collin McHugh, who gave up six runs while getting just one out against the Yankees in his initial start.