Two rain delays later, Royals drop series opener to Twins
MINNEAPOLIS – By the time their series opener against Kansas City concluded, the Minnesota Twins had played almost as much dominoes as baseball.
Play was halted for 1 hour, 31 minutes in the top of the fourth inning and again for 53 minutes in the bottom of the sixth. The game concluded at 12:56 a.m. local time.
When all was said and done, the Twins were rewarded for their patience with a 6-4 win over the Royals in a game that ended early Saturday morning.
“It was a long night,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s a lot easier when you win.”
Jake Cave drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning to score the go-ahead run for the Twins, who held on to win their 50th game of the season.
Minnesota had a one-run lead when heavy rain forced the game’s first stoppage. After the delay, Kansas City scored two runs in the top of the fifth off Twins reliever Gabriel Moya (1-0) to take a 4-3 advantage. The Twins responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning against Brian Flynn (2-3), including one on the walk by Cave.
“I just got behind just about everyone it felt like from that second inning on,” Flynn said.
Minnesota added a run in the sixth before more rain stopped the action once again for nearly an hour.
Players from both sides had time to kill while they waited for a series of storms to pass. Dominoes were a popular way to pass the time, while some players watched other games on TV or stayed loose in the batting cages.
“I think you learn about people when you go through long nights and stopping and playing, stopping and playing,” Molitor said. “We just tried to keep it as loose as we could up here in the clubhouse and at the same time remind these guys that we had to finish what we had started.”
The multiple delays forced both teams to dig into their bullpens. Twins starter Jake Odorizzi exited after 3 1/3 innings, while Royals right-hander Heath Fillmyer was limited to three innings in his start. The two teams combined to use nine relievers.
“Just a grind. We just struggled,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We were behind the counts. It was just a grind for us.”
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Minnesota struck first on Friday with a three-run second inning. Miguel Sano’s liner down the third base line bounced off the glove of Hunter Dozier and into foul territory, allowing two Twins runs to score.
Salvador Perez’s 19th home run of the year cut Minnesota’s lead to 3-2 in the third.
Salvy LOVES Target Field! That’s his 16th career long ball in Minnesota.
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) August 4, 2018
SANTANA RETURNS TO MINNESOTA
For the first time in more than a decade, former Twins ace Johan Santana is back in Minnesota.
Santana made his return to Minneapolis for the weekend as he prepares to be induced into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday. The two-time Cy Young winner was joined at Target Field by several former teammates, including Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Christian Guzman.
While talking about his return, Santana got a bit nostalgic about the Metrodome, the since-demolished former home of the Twins. On the old Metrodome site sits U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings.
“When I saw that, I couldn’t believe the Metrodome wasn’t there, because that was home,” Santana said. “That’s where all the magic happened.”
Santana spent eight years with Minnesota before a trade sent him to the Mets. He was 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA during his Twins tenure. He’ll be inducted during a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday’s game between the Twins and Royals.
TWINS CLAIM TWO OFF WAIVERS
Prior to Friday’s game, Minnesota claimed RHP Oliver Drake off waivers from Toronto and INF Johnny Field off waivers from Tampa Bay. Drake will join the Twins on Saturday, while Field will report to Triple-A Rochester. Drake will take the roster spot of Matt Magill, who will be placed on the paternity list.
Royals: RHP Burch Smith is making just his fifth start of the year after moving from the bullpen to the rotation in early July. Smith posted a 7.47 ERA in his first four starts this season.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios is looking to bounce back from his last outing, in which he needed 106 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Boston.