Twins extend Royals’skid to seven games
Bullpen helps Baker beats Royals for third time
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Scott Baker beat Kansas City again, but it wasn’t as easy this time.
The Minnesota right-hander defeated the Royals for the third time this season, pitching the Twins to a 6-3 victory Tuesday night that extended Kansas City’s losing streak to seven games.
Baker, who carried a perfect game into the ninth inning of a shutout against the Royals on Aug. 31, gave up three runs in 52⁄3 innings this time. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts against the Royals this year, with 20 strikeouts and two walks in 222⁄3 innings.
"They’ve got some great hitters," Baker said. "They are very aggressive. They do chase some pitches. They do put the ball in play. Their 2 through 5 hitters, and with (David) DeJesus leading off, is just as good as anybody I think. They are tough outs, no doubt about that."
Baker (9-7) allowed 10 hits but got help from his bullpen. Joe Nathan worked a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save in 36 opportunities.
"I’m sure they took a little more time watching film or doing whatever they needed to do to prepare for the game," Baker said, referring to his near no-hitter. "As far as that aspect, I’m sure it made it a little tougher. As the pitcher, you don’t want to make the adjustment for them."
Juan Rincon replaced Baker in the sixth after he yielded two-out singles to DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek. Rincon retired Mark Teahen on a grounder to end the threat.
"It doesn’t matter who is coming in, you don’t like to leave guys on base," Baker said. "But Juan did an excellent job. That was a huge out, not so much for me, but for the game."
Alex Gordon went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk for the Royals, who stranded 13 runners and equaled their longest losing streak of the season.
"I felt good overall, but without a win it doesn’t feel the same," Gordon said. "I was being more patient at the plate, waiting for my pitch and when I got it I was ready to hit it."
The Twins took advantage of errors by first baseman Billy Butler in the first inning and left fielder Joey Gathright in the sixth to score two unearned runs off Kyle Davies (2-5). He walked the first batter in three innings and two scored.
"My leadoff walks hurt us," Davies said. "I’d be better off to not pitch so fine. I need to be more aggressive. There wasn’t a whole lot of balls that were hard hit. I can’t let the leadoff hitter get on that easily."
Butler’s error on Joe Mauer’s sharp grounder allowed Jason Bartlett to score from first.
The Royals bunched together four hits in the second to score two runs. Mike Sweeney scored on Butler’s groundout, and Jason LaRue’s two-out single drove in Gordon. Kansas City left the bases loaded when Baker struck out Grudzielanek.
Grudzielanek and Teahen hit consecutive doubles to give the Royals a 3-1 lead in the fifth but Minnesota scored three in the sixth. Torii Hunter hit an RBI single in the inning for his 100th RBI of the season.