MINNEAPOLIS — After enduring over two hours of rain delays, the Royals came up short in a 6-4 loss to the Twins in the series opener on Friday night at Target Field.
Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer, who was coming off a pair of strong outings, got off to a promising start for the Royals when he struck out the side after a leadoff walk in the first inning. But Miguel Sano crushed a two-run double and Joe Mauer added a run-scoring single in the second to put the Royals in an early 3-0 hole.
“Just a grind,” manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve just struggled when we’re behind in the counts. It was just a grind for us.”
Salvador Perez negated some of that damage when he crushed a two-run homer off Twins starter Jake Odorizzi in the third to make it 3-2. Perez’s 19th homer of the year left his bat at 103.8 mph and traveled a projected 412 feet into the Kansas City bullpen, according to Statcast™.
Fillmyer surrendered five hits as he battled through three innings before the first rain delay of 1 hour, 31 minutes, ensured he would not head back out for a fourth inning.
Brian Flynn came on in relief and tossed a clean fourth inning out of the delay. The Twins, who also were forced to turn to their bullpen in the fourth, deployed Gabriel Moya and the Royals logged four consecutive one-out singles off him in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Kansas City nearly added to that lead when Rosell Herrera drilled a ground ball down the third-base line, but Sano made an excellent diving snag and throw to save at least one run and end the inning.
“That was a really nice defensive play and on the other end of it, [first baseman Mauer] corralling a 110-mph throw on the wet grass hydroplaning,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Sano’s effort. “That was pretty impressive.”
The Twins took advantage of Sano’s big play and tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead, and then padded that advantage in the sixth when Jorge Polanco roped a run-scoring double. Almost simultaneously, another storm began and the game was delayed once more for 53 minutes. That marked the end of Flynn’s night as he allowed three runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings. That’s the most runs the lefty has allowed in an outing since June 1.
“I think we had great momentum going there for awhile,” Flynn said. “So it’s big on me to go out and get a shutdown inning and keep the momentum rolling. Just gotta do your job and keep the momentum on our side.”