Royals defeat Twins, but get officially eliminated from playoffs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The World Series champions have failed to make the postseason for the fourth year in a row.
Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon keyed an eighth-inning rally and Kansas City beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night, but the Royals were still knocked out of playoff contention.
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The defending World Series champs were eliminated when Baltimore beat Toronto 3-2 earlier Wednesday.
"Obviously we'd like to be playing a lot more baseball, but the reality of it is we're not," said Eric Hosmer, who hit a two-run homer in the third.
Morales' ground-rule double to right scored Jarrod Dyson, who had doubled and stole third. Gordon's single scored Whit Merrifield and pinch-runner Billy Burns.
Dyson said he would not be watching postseason games.
"It's kind of sad and tough to watch postseason when you're not in it," Dyson said.
The Twins, who have lost 10 of 11, have dropped 102 games, tying the 1982 team for its highest total since moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season. The Washington Senators lost a franchise-worst 113 games in 1904.
"We're trying to win games, but it's becoming difficult," Twins right-hander Ervin Santana said. "But, I think we just try to do too much and we forgot about the little things. It's a game. You just have to prepare to be better for the next year."
Taylor Rogers (3-1), the fourth of five Twins pitchers, took the loss after allowing three runs, three hits and two walks while retiring only one of the six batters he faced.
Joakim Soria (5-8) worked a scoreless eighth to pick up the victory. Wade Davis got his 27th save in 30 chances.
Royals left-hander Jason Vargas tossed five shutout innings, allowing four hits, striking out six and walking one. He threw 53 strikes in 87 pitches, leaving with a 2-0 lead in his third start since having Tommy John surgery in 2015. Vargas finishes with a 2.25 ERA, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out 11 and walking three in 12 innings.
"It was nice to have a reward as far as having some success once I was able to step underneath the lights and really get out there for real," Vargas said. "Going into the offseason, I was just hoping for health as far as being able to have the normal offseason. So to have a nice outing like this before is a nice comfortable feeling."
Rookie Kevin McCarthy, however, did not hold the lead for long. McCarthy yielded a two-run two-out home run to Kennys Vargas in the sixth. After McCarthy walked the next two batters, Peter Moylan was summoned to face John Ryan Murphy, retiring him on a comebacker.
The Vargas homer snapped a Twins' streak of 106 innings without more than one run. According to Elias, it is the longest such streak in the majors since the Philadelphia Phillies went 109 innings in 1942 without scoring multiple runs.
"We just kind of stagnated from there," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Hosmer hit a two-run homer, his 25th, off Santana in the third. The Royals did not get another hit until Dyson's one-out double in the eighth.
The Royals follow the San Francisco Giants (in 2013 and '15) and Boston Red Sox (in 2014) in failing to reach the playoffs after winning the World Series.
The Wednesday attendance of 23,437 pushed the Royals' season total to 2,445,361 after 77 home dates. After 77 Kauffman Stadium dates last year, the Royals had pulled 2,564,750 through the turnstiles, a decline of 119,389.
ZERO AT KC
The Twins dropped to 0-9 at Kauffman Stadium. They have never finished a season winless at Kansas City.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer (hamstring injury) was not in the lineup, but Molitor said he was available to pinch hit.
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain, who has played only one game in September because of left wrist inflammation, will not play again this season. "There is no need to push him," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson, who went to the University of Missouri, will make his 11th career start against the Royals.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three outings against the Twins this season.