Royals, Twins play series finale with depleted bullpens

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins will be making roster moves Wednesday to bring in some fresh arms out of necessity.

The Royals outlasted the Twins 2-1 in 14 innings Tuesday when Alcides Escobar hit a walk-off homer with two out.

There was a 24-minute rain delay before the first pitch Tuesday, plus the four-hour and 12-minute marathon. Had the game gone another inning, there would have been a prolonged delay. The tarp was placed over the infield as soon as the game ended, and rain started to fall about 20 minutes later.

Royals manager Ned Yost said he was unaware more rain was bound for the stadium.

“I heard somebody say, ‘If we don’t score this inning, we’re going to be here until five in the morning,’ and I thought they were talking about our offense,” he said.

Even with the game’s merciful ending in the 14th, both teams’ bullpens were stretched thin. The Twins’ already overworked bullpen used four relievers while the Royals went through five.

“We’re having conversations already trying to figure out what we need to do to protect ourselves for tomorrow,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I can’t really make any announcements. We’re still throwing around a few ideas.”

Royals rookie right-hander Brad Keller will make his first career big-league start in the rubber game of the three-game series. Keller, a Rule 5 draft pick, is 1-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 21 relief appearances.

Yost said Keller had thrown more than 40 pitches in an outing but would be restricted to 50 to 60 pitches Wednesday. The plan had been to have Scott Barlow come in after Keller reaches his pitch limit.

Barlow, however, was needed Tuesday and threw four hitless innings while striking out five to pick up the victory. He threw 47 pitches and will likely be shut down for at least three days.

“He was the last man standing down there,” Yost said. “He was either going to go until we won or lost it. He held it strong until we could win it.

“Ideally, we needed him to piggyback with Keller tomorrow. We’ll figure something out there. We just got to a situation where I wasn’t going to use (Tim) Hill. Burch Smith threw 35-40 (Monday) night; wasn’t going to use him. And (Blaine) Boyer threw (17 on Monday), so those guys weren’t available. So we got to the point where we had to use him, and he responded brilliantly.”

The Royals will probably bring up Trevor Oaks from Triple-A Omaha. Oaks has not pitched since Friday. He started and lost April 28 as the 26th man against the Chicago White Sox. If Oaks is recalled, he could throw multiple innings after Keller.

The Twins will start rookie right-hander Fernando Romero, who is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his first five career starts.

He is coming off his first loss. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings in a 2-1 defeat Friday in Seattle.

Romero did not allow an earned run in his first 15.2 innings, the second-longest streak to begin a Twins career since 1974.

Romero has a 23-17 record in six minor league seasons with a 2.83 ERA, 314 strikeouts and 102 walks in 324.1 innings. He entered the season as the Twins’ No. 2-ranked prospect.