Gee can’t protect lead, Royals fall 7-5 to Twins

Dillon Gee suffered his second loss of the season.

Marilyn Indahl/Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Kansas City Royals had the opportunity to turn a solid road trip into an excellent six-game stretch.

Dillon Gee didn’t hold up his end of the responsibility.

Miguel Sano hit the go-ahead, two-run home run in the fifth inning after Minnesota lost an early lead, and the Twins staved off another series sweep Wednesday by beating the Royals 7-5.

Eduardo Nunez and Brian Dozier each homered, too, the first two batters to face Gee (1-2) and just the fifth pair in Twins history to go deep in their first two plate appearances of the game.

"You put your team behind the eight ball early, which isn’t a good feeling," Gee said. "I just tried to battle out there."

Tyler Duffey (2-3) gave away a 3-0 lead during a five-run fourth by the Royals, but the right-hander hung around long enough to become the first Twins starter this season to record his second victory. The rotation has totaled six wins. There were 11 pitchers in the major leagues with seven or more victories when the day began.

The Twins (12-34) have trailed at some point in all but two of their games this year. They were in trouble after Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double to halt a 2-for-22 slide and the sizzling Salvador Perez tied the game with another double.

"Hos is one of the best players we got on this team," manager Ned Yost said. "Every time he steps in that box you expect something special to happen."

Omar Infante added a two-out RBI triple and trotted home on Duffey’s wild pitch.

Sano bailed out Duffey the following inning, though, with a drive into the second deck above left field for a 6-5 lead on his eighth home run this season after Joe Mauer started with a single. Sano, who leads the majors in strikeouts with 67 in 45 games, was in a 2-for-24 skid until that.

The Twins have been swept an astounding eight times already but not this week. After allowing only two extra-base hits to right-handers all season before Wednesday, Gee gave up four of them in this one in four-plus innings. Nunez went 3 for 4 and is 6 for 8 in his career against Gee.

"I just really didn’t give us a chance today," Gee said.

Gee gave up 10 hits.

"Just one of those days he just wasn’t sharp," Yost said.

Still, the Royals (24-22) won their fourth straight series.

Duffey pitched into the seventh, and Trevor May struck out Lorenzo Cain with two runners on to end a threat. May gave up 10 runs, including four homers, over 3 1/3 innings in his previous five appearances. Cain is batting .356 (32 for 90) with 17 RBIs in this month.

Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in seven attempts. Pinch hitter Jarrod Dyson hustled for a one-out double, but Jepsen struck out Whit Merrifield to end the game.

SURGING ROYALS

Despite the loss, several Royals hitters went home with hot bats.

Alcides Escobar had three hits, giving him 114 career hits against the Twins, his most against any team. Paulo Orlando had six hits in the series and is batting .529 (18 for 34) over his career-long nine-game hitting streak. Perez, who leads major league catchers with 25 RBIs, has an 11-game hitting streak. He’s batting .432 (19 for 44) during the run.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cheslor Cuthbert again played 3B for the Royals in place of Mike Moustakas (bruised left knee). Yost said the plan all along was to re-evaluate him Thursday.

UP NEXT

The Royals return home for a four-game series beginning Thursday against Chicago, with LHP Danny Duffy (0-0, 2.13 ERA) on schedule to start for the third time. He has struck out eight in 7 1/3 scoreless innings since joining the rotation. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.57 ERA) will take the mound for the White Sox, coming off his best start of the season with eight strikeouts in six innings.