MINNEAPOLIS — Kendrys Morales has resumed his form as a feared power hitter. The Kansas City Royals hope it has come in time to push them back to the postseason.
Morales had two home runs, including a three-run blast in Kansas City’s seven-run ninth inning that propelled the Royals to a 10-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Morales hit a two-run shot in the first inning to help the Royals overcome the loss of catcher Salvador Perez, who left the game with a right wrist contusion after he was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. It was Morales’ 17th career multihomer game and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
"It’s been some time now where I’ve been starting to feel really, really good," Morales said through an interpreter. "Now I’m really comfortable at the plate and I’m making good, hard contact."
Brian Dozier hit his 39th home run of the season for the Twins, moving him into a tie with Rogers Hornsby (twice) and Alfonso Soriano for fourth-most home runs by a second baseman in a season. He has homered in five straight games, tying Harmon Killebrew and Marty Cordova for the longest streak in Twins history.
Former Twin Drew Butera’s bases-loaded single off Brandon Kintzler (0-2) broke a 3-3 tie and got the Royals rolling in the ninth.
Morales has five homers in his last seven games.
Ned Yost on Dillon Gee's performance: "The adjustment he made was huge to keep us right there, in that ballgame. pic.twitter.com/7xMHlvyAwP
"He’s swinging the bat real well right now, that’s for sure," manager Ned Yost said. "The second (homer) was huge. We were trying to keep (reliever) Wade (Davis) out of the game."
The Royals started the day four games behind the second wild card in the AL, but with five teams ahead of them. The margin of error is getting slimmer by the day, and a loss to the team with the worst record in the majors certainly would not have helped their cause.
After the Royals gave up three homers to Dozier on Monday night, KC starter Dillon Gee fell behind 0-2 to him in the first inning and left a fastball up in the zone. Dozier hit it an estimated 395 feet into the second deck in left field, giving him 25 home runs since the All-Star break. Three of those were hit as a DH, but his 22 as a second baseman surpassed Hall of Famer Joe Gordon’s 21 for the most ever by an American League second baseman.
Gee gave up three runs and eight hits and struck out two in six innings. Kelvin Herrera (2-4) pitched one inning for the win.
Yost said he thought he might have to get a tired bullpen up early when Gee served up long balls to Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario in the first two innings. But the right-hander settled in after that and allowed just two hits over the final four innings before yielding to the bullpen.
"Everything he was throwing was elevated in the zone and his location was off, but after the second inning he came in and made an adjustment and got in a groove and did a phenomenal job of getting us through six innings and keeping us right there in the game," Yost said.
Royals: Recalled INF Christian Colon and selected the contracts of OF Daniel Nava and RHP Kevin McCarthy from Triple-A Omaha. OF Reymond Fuentes and RHP Nick Tepesch were designated for assignment to make room.
Twins: Recalled RHP Tyler Duffey, 1B Kennys Vargas and INF James Beresford from Triple-A Rochester. Manager Paul Molitor said Duffey would return to the starting rotation on Friday against Cleveland.
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain missed his sixth straight game because of left wrist inflammation. He is listed as day to day.
Twins: Plouffe had to leave the game in the middle of an at-bat in the eighth inning with a left oblique strain. Plouffe left after falling behind 1-2 and was replaced by Vargas. … LHP Tommy Milone (left biceps) and RHP Trevor May (back) threw simulated games on Tuesday. Molitor said both would likely be activated on Friday.
The Royals send LHP Danny Duffy (11-2, 3.13) to the mound to face Twins RHP Kyle Gibson (5-9, 5.31) in the series finale. Duffy has been dominant for most of the season but has allowed at least eight hits in three straight starts. Gibson has been largely disappointing in his Twins career but is 5-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts against Kansas City.