Escobar, Berrios lead Twins past Royals
MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Berrios said it feels weird to be described as an All-Star after being named to the American League team for the first time in his career.
His pitching on Tuesday showed the honor isn’t misplaced.
Eduardo Escobar had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh to support Berrios’ strong outing as the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Monday night.
Escobar plated Joe Mauer with a seventh-inning single as Minnesota took advantage of Kansas City’s struggling bullpen to win its fifth straight game.
Berrios (9-7) allowed one run on six hits in seven innings. He struck out eight while throwing a season-high 111 pitches.
“I feel great today out there,” Berrios said. “My last two outings, I felt a little low on energy, a little tired. But today I felt better and the game plan worked for us.”
Fernando Rodney allowed a walk and hit in the ninth but secured his 20th save.
Tim Hill (1-3) surrendered both runs and got just one out in relief after starter Danny Duffy’s six scoreless innings. The Royals started the game with a league-worst 5.29 relief ERA.
“We score more runs, get a little more leeway, it would be easier on the bullpen,” said Kansas City manager Ned Yost, who was ejected in the fourth inning. “Right now, they’re just walking that thin line. They can’t make a mistake. But Danny was fantastic.”
Duffy and Berrios nearly matched each other through seven innings as both teams couldn’t convert scoring chances.
The Royals were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners against Berrios. Minnesota was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base against Duffy, who has a 3.07 ERA over his past nine starts after a slow start to his season.
“I feel like I figured out quite a bit over the last couple starts,” Duffy said.
The Twins had a runner reach third in three of Duffy’s six innings and failed to drive him in.
Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the third for the only run against Berrios.
“He’s got the confidence he can make pitches to try to minimize at the very least,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said of Berrios. “He’s got that feel about just pace of game, what he’s doing, continue to execute, and it’s just part of that progression we keep talking about with him.”
Kansas City manager Ned Yost was ejected after Lucas Duda was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Will Little. It was Yost’s 43rd career ejection and the first of this season.
“I yelled at him just to get his act together, and he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders,” Yost said. “Like, what does that mean? Does that mean you don’t care? Is that what it means? That’s what set me off. Got my player working out there and then you’re going to shrug your shoulders at me, and you’re missing a call, a crucial call? Yeah, I didn’t like it.”
WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE
The Twins started their marketing campaign to get left fielder Eddie Rosario voted to the All-Star game as part of the league’s final ballot.
Minnesota players and coaches wore tuxedo T-shirts for the pregame batting practice that had “Vote Rosie” on the back. The idea behind the campaign is based on `The Bachelor TV’ show, which is known for handing out roses to chosen participants.
Rosario took the field in the first inning with a rose in hand and gave it to a female fan in the stands near left field.
Rosario, who drove in the tying run on Tuesday on a groundout, was seventh in the AL in hits starting Monday’s games. He was also tied with Boston outfielder Mookie Betts for fourth in the league with 185 total bases.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (60-day disabled list, finger surgery) is scheduled to start Tuesday for Double-A Chattanooga as he tries to work his way back to the Minnesota rotation. Manager Paul Molitor said Santana is likely to move his rehab to Triple-A Rochester for one start before the All-Star break and the team will decide on his future depending on the two starts.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (1-8, 5.11 ERA) will be activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday evening’s game in Minnesota. Kennedy has been out since June 29 with a left oblique strain. He has gone 15 starts without a win, the longest active winless streak in the majors.
Twins: RHP Aaron Slegers (1-0, 2.38) will make his second start and third appearance of the season on Tuesday. He earned his first major league win on July 5 with one run allowed in six innings against Baltimore.