Minnesota at Kansas City

Final 10th
Kansas City
W: J. Nathan (2-1) L: J. Soria (3-1)
HR: MIN - None   KC - B. Butler (15), D. DeJesus (10), B. Pena (4)

Twins 5, Royals 4 (10)

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A three-run rally capped by an error that looked like a sight gag. A blown save and 53-pitch outing by one of baseball's best closers. A loss by another All-Star closer.

The Twins and Royals don't have a rivalry. What they have is, well, just odd.

Orlando Cabrera hit a run-scoring triple in the 10th inning after a rare blown save by Joe Nathan in the ninth, helping Minnesota rally for a bizarre 5-4 victory over Kansas City on Friday night.

Minnesota fell behind 3-0 early, rallied with the help of the bumbling Royals and had to pull it out after some unusually tense moments from Nathan (2-1).

 Morneau to miss weekend

What else did they expect?

"When we play the Royals, it's a mess," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It always is a mess because neither team gives up, neither team quits and there's always strange things happening during the games. It was just another typical Twins and Royals game."

Minnesota seemed to have it locked up.

Nick Blackburn gave the Twins a chance with seven solid innings, giving up solo homers to Billy Butler and David DeJesus and not much else. The Royals helped out by blundering their way through a three-run sixth inning that tied the game at 3-all. Then Minnesota went ahead 4-3 on Denard Span's run-scoring single in the eighth and handed the ball over to Nathan in the ninth.

Nathan entered with a career ERA of 0.73 against the Royals and had converted 31 of 34 save chances this season. The hard-throwing right-hander got the first two hitters, then had pinch-hitter Brayan Pena down 1-2 in the count.

Game over, right?


Pena brought the crowd to its feet with a roar -- they had been dueling the large contingent of Twins fans all night -- with a solo homer to right, tying the game at 4-all.

"When the count got to 3-2, I was thinking `Just put ball in play and try not to strike out,"' said Pena, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. "And then I got lucky."

The stadium still buzzing, Yuniesky Betancourt nearly ended it, hitting a ball that hit just under the top of the wall in left-center. He ended up with a double and Nathan got DeJesus to fly out to center.

The Royals turned to their closer in the 10th, but Soria (3-1) had just as much trouble as Nathan.

Soria, who had converted 12 straight save chances, allowed a one-out single to Alexi Casilla then Cabrera sliced a triple down the line in right. Defensive replacement Willie Bloomquist had trouble with the carom -- Josh Anderson had his problems earlier in the game -- and the Twins went up 5-4.

It still wasn't over.

Nathan allowed a one-out single to Butler in the 10th, then Bloomquist blooped a single to center. Even with his closer's pitch count running high, Gardenhire decided to leave Nathan out there. After an 11-pitch battle that resulted in Alberto Callaspo's flyout, he figured that was enough and started out to the mound.

Not yet.

"We waved me off -- I've never been waved off before," Gardenhire said. "But that's your closer, that's what he does."

He was right. Seven agonizing pitches later, Nathan ended a long, bizarre night with his 53rd pitch, getting Mark Teahen to line out to right.

"To come out of the game right there, there's no chance," said Nathan, 4-0 career against Kansas City. "Right there, I'm going to win it or lose. I felt like that was a situation for me to get this game done."

The Royals gave the Twins a chance -- and ruined starter Luke Hochevar's solid outing -- with a blooper-reel sixth inning.

Carlos Gomez opened with a single, stole second, and reached third on catcher Miguel Olivo's throwing error. Casilla hit a run-scoring double, then went to third on a wild pitch. Span followed with a Little League homer, circling the bases after Anderson couldn't cut off his shot down the line and had the ball slip out of his hand like an ice cube as he tried to throw.

Span was credited with a run-scoring triple, Anderson an error and Kansas City's 3-0 lead was gone in a flurry of foulups.

"It was a good battle and game," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Obviously, we made some mistakes."


Kansas City leads the majors with 70 wild pitches. ... Twins RHP Matt Guerrier made his 300th career appearance, pitching the eighth. ... Nathan had allowed three earned runs his previous 25 innings at Kauffman Stadium.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Butler
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

D. Span
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, RF5122001 .305
Orlando Cabrera, SS5011021 .281
Joe Mauer, C3010200 .378
Jason Kubel, DH5010015 .306
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4000021 .270
Joe Crede, 3B4000000 .229
Delmon Young, LF4000000 .261
Carlos Gomez, CF4220010 .239
Alexi Casilla, 2B3221000 .187
2B - Alexi Casilla (5, Hochevar)
3B - Denard Span (6, Hochevar), Orlando Cabrera (2, Soria)
SH - Alexi Casilla (2)
RBI - Denard Span 2 (47), Orlando Cabrera (51), Alexi Casilla (13)
2-OUT RBI - Orlando Cabrera (29)
SB - Carlos Gomez (11, 3rd base off Hochevar/Olivo)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Cabrera-Casilla
E - Michael Cuddyer (6, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Nick Blackburn 7733262 4.27
Matt Guerrier (H,24) 0.2100010 2.28
Jose Mijares (H,17) 0.1000000 2.14
Joe Nathan (BS,4; W,2-1) 2411011 1.66
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 106-68, Matt Guerrier 10-7, Jose Mijares 3-2, Joe Nathan 53-36
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 8-6, Joe Nathan 2-3
Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 29, Matt Guerrier 3, Joe Nathan 10
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF4111103 .264
Mitch Maier, CF5110021 .246
Billy Butler, 1B5121020 .300
Mike Jacobs, DH3010100 .231
    Willie Bloomquist, PR-DH-RF1010000 .260
Alberto Callaspo, 2B5020013 .296
Mark Teahen, 3B5000005 .277
Miguel Olivo, C4010020 .238
Josh Anderson, RF3010000 .236
   a- Brayan Pena, PH1111000 .327
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4010012 .234
a-homered for Anderson in the 9th
2B - Yuniesky Betancourt (14, Nathan)
HR - David DeJesus (10, Blackburn), Billy Butler (15, Blackburn), Brayan Pena (4, Nathan)
RBI - David DeJesus (56), Billy Butler (65), Brayan Pena (11)
2-OUT RBI - Billy Butler (23), Brayan Pena (5)
PK - Willie Bloomquist (1, Mijares)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Teahen-Callaspo-Butler
E - Josh Anderson (3, Misplayed grounder), Miguel Olivo (7, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
Luke Hochevar 7533030 5.60
Kyle Farnsworth 0.2211110 4.32
John Bale 0.1000000 5.96
Jamey Wright 1000010 4.60
Joakim Soria (L,3-1) 1211110 2.33
IBB - Mauer by Kyle Farnsworth, Mauer by Joakim Soria
WP - Luke Hochevar (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 94-64, Kyle Farnsworth 23-13, John Bale 4-3, Jamey Wright 11-6, Joakim Soria 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 11-6, Kyle Farnsworth 1-0, John Bale 1-0, Jamey Wright 1-1, Joakim Soria 1-1
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 25, Kyle Farnsworth 5, John Bale 1, Jamey Wright 3, Joakim Soria 6
Game Information
Attendance - 22283
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor