No-hit through 6, Royals rally late to stun Twins
Sitting in the Kansas City dugout watching Scott Baker go for a no-hitter, Willie Bloomquist and the Royals wondered aloud how to hex the Minnesota ace.
"We were trying every way possible to jinx him every inning," Bloomquist said.
Whatever they did right before the seventh inning sure worked.
Bloomquist ended Baker's no-hit bid with a single, Jose Guillen connected for a three-run homer in the same inning and the Royals rallied past Minnesota 7-5 on Sunday.
Guillen's three-run shot accounted for the first runs off Baker (0-4), who flirted with Minnesota's first no-hitter since 1999. But he gave up five consecutive hits in the seventh and failed to record an out as the Royals overcame their largest deficit this season to take two of three in the series.
It was the second time Baker had a brush with history against Kansas City. He took a perfect game into the ninth inning on Aug. 31, 2007, at the Metrodome before issuing a leadoff walk to John Buck and allowing a one-out single by pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney.
The right-hander finished that game with a one-hitter. This time was a much different outcome.
"A little frustrating, obviously," Baker said. "Just try to take what you can take positively from the outing and just kind of go from there."
Guillen drove in four runs, and Kansas City starter Gil Meche (2-2) lasted six innings and a season-high 116 pitches after leaving his previous start at Toronto with lower back stiffness.
"When they've got a no-hitter into the seventh inning and we get five runs, that says a lot that the guys haven't given up," said Meche, who also started opposite Baker during his 2007 one-hitter.
Delmon Young's RBI single in the sixth gave Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
Until that point, Baker's lone blemish was a second-inning walk to Guillen. Baker then retired 15 straight before Bloomquist's leadoff single in the seventh. Mark Teahen followed with a single and Guillen hit his third homer on an 0-2 pitch to pull the Royals to 4-3.
"The game did a 360 on us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't know if he hit a wall. It looked like he just couldn't make a pitch after he gave up that one hit. A tough day. Bake threw the heck out of the ball."
Mike Jacobs and David DeJesus singled to chase Baker, who struck out four and left to a standing ovation. Still, he wound up with a loss.
"Didn't seem like they ever gave up or ever gave in," Baker said. "They made me battle the whole game, made me throw a lot of pitches."
Luis Ayala gave up Alberto Callaspo's two-run double to left-center, putting the Royals up 5-4. Guillen added a run-scoring double in the eighth and Coco Crisp hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Guillen has three homers since coming off the disabled list April 24.
"He's a cornerstone there in the middle of the lineup and he's an RBI machine," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "It's nice having him back."
Horacio Ramirez and Jamey Wright each worked a scoreless inning before Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances.
Soria gave up a run when pinch-hitter Joe Mauer singled to score Denard Span.
The Twins activated RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder) from the DL and sent C Jose Morales to Triple-A Rochester. Earlier in the day, Gardenhire said Morales played well with Mauer out injured. But with backup C Mike Redmond ready to get back in the lineup, the Twins didn't need a third catcher. Redmond, who turns 38 on Tuesday, has been bothered by a sore shoulder and hasn't played since April 25. "He could catch today if needed," Gardenhire said. ... Bloomquist made his first start at shortstop this season after starting in left field, right field and at second base. He's hit safely in five straight games. ... Kansas City got its sixth comeback win of the season. ... Callaspo has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games.