The Minnesota Twins need to get really hot, really quickly. Their faint postseason hopes are on life support.
The visiting Twins (73-75) and Royals (59-89) continue their three-game series Wednesday evening in Kansas City. The Twins will start Bailey Ober (1-2, 3.49 ERA). The Royals will counter with Daniel Lynch (4-11, 5.15).
The Royals defeated the Twins 5-4 Tuesday night in the series opener.
The Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, but the Royals scored a pair of runs in the third and fifth innings. The Twins tied it in the sixth, but Salvador Perez hit the Royals’ third consecutive double to drive in Bobby Witt Jr. with the go-ahead run in the seventh.
The Royals had scored a total of seven runs in the last six games against the Twins. It was the first time this season that the Royals have won when trailing by at least three runs in a game.
“I feel like we’ve (come back) at times,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “But lately we’ve been having trouble overtaking whatever deficit we have. Down three, let’s just make a mark and then make another mark. MJ (Melendez) hitting a two-run homer got us right back in the game. Overall, we’ve been giving up the lead early and not been able to fight back into it.
“We put pressure on them offensively. We had action on the bases all day long.”
Scott Barlow, who pitched a five-out save, earned his ninth multi-inning save this season, the most in the majors by three.
“Scott was fantastic,” Matheny said.
The Twins are now 6-13 in September, including losing seven of eight September games against the first-place Cleveland Guardians. They are 3-15 in their last 18 road games.
The Guardians and the second-place White Sox are playing each other in Chicago, making it difficult for the Twins to gain ground on both of them.
Ober will be making his third start against the Royals this season, with two no-decisions in his first two outings. He’s allowed four runs on eight hits in eight innings in the two starts combined. He actually has four no-decisions in four career starts against Kansas City.
In his last outing, Ober’s first after missing three months with a groin injury, he allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings in Cleveland in a 4-3 loss. He took a no-decision.
“He pitched phenomenally,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Ober. “He threw a few more pitches than he did in his last rehab start. In normal circumstances, when he’s built up, he could obviously go back out and pitch more. But in this situation, a little bit shorter than a normal start, that’s what you’re hoping for. He gave us exactly what we wanted. He looked great.”
Lynch will be making his sixth start against the Twins this season. He’s 1-3 with a 4.32 ERA in his first five starts. He had no decision in his only appearance against Minnesota in 2021.
–Field Level Media