Preview: Twins at Royals
The Royals outlasted the Twins 2-1 in 14 innings Tuesday with Alcides Escobar hitting a walk off homer with two out.
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.”
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, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings in a 2-1 loss on Friday in Seattle.
Romero did not allow an earned run in his first 15 2/3 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 1/3 innings. He entered the season as the Twins’ No. 2 ranked prospect.
There was a 24-minute rain delay before the first pitch on Tuesday, plus the four-hour and 12-minute marathon. Royals manager Ned Yost said he was unaware another rain storm was bound for the stadium and if it went another inning, there would have been a prolonged delay. It began raining about 20 minutes after the final out with the tarp placed over the infield soon as the game ended.
“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,” Yost said.
Rookie right-hander Brad Keller will make his first career big league start in the series finale. Keller, a Rule Five 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. The plan was to have Scott Barlow come in after Keller reached 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 last night; wasn’t going to use him. And (Blaine) Boyer threw 20-something (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 on April 28th as the 26th man against the Chicago White Sox. If Oaks is brought up, he could throw multiple innings after Keller.