Alexander gets unlikely save; Royals hold off Twins 7-6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With Kansas City's closer on the mound and a three-run lead, odds were pretty good that Scott Alexander could watch the final inning from the bullpen.

Instead, he got his second save of the year.

Alexander replaced an injured Kelvin Herrera and struck out Eddie Rosario with the bases loaded in the ninth inning as the Royals held off the Minnesota Twins 7-6 Friday night.

Mike Moustakas homered for the first time since mid-August, Brandon Moss also went deep for the Royals, who won for just the second time in eight games. Melky Cabrera tied a season-high with four hits.

Up 7-4, and with two outs, Herrera walked No. 9 hitter Zack Granite and hit Brian Dozier.

''That's when I started thinking, `All right we better keep an eye on this,''' said manger Ned Yost. ''The velocity wasn't dropping, but I got Scotty up just in case and it just started getting more and more and more wild.''

Herrera gave up a two-run single to Joe Mauer and fell behind 3-0 to Jorge Polanco - who ultimately walked - before being removed with low forearm tightness. Yost is unsure when Herrera will be available.

Alexander had a simple plan against Rosario.

''When you get the bases loaded and there's no room to pitch around anybody you've just got to go after him,'' Alexander said. ''I knew what I wanted do to with him, just try to execute.''

He's done it before.

Alexander got the final out Aug. 22 with the bases loaded after Herrera left with a similar injury.

''You never expect someone to get hurt in the middle of the inning like that or have to come out, so it happens real quick and you just try to gather yourself as much as you can and try to focus in on what you got to do,'' he said.

Minnesota scored two runs in the ninth Thursday, the last on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded, to beat Chicago 5-4.

''We hung in there until the last round and made it interesting,'' said Twins manager Paul Molitor. ''Almost for the second day in a row to pull something out like that.''

The Twins remain one game behind New York - which lost 4-1 to Boston - for the top AL wild card spot. Minnesota entered the night leading Los Angeles, which played at Texas, by 1 1/2 games for the second spot. Kansas City is now 3 1/2 games behind.

Royals' starter Jason Hammel (7-10) allowed Polanco's two-run home run in the first and a run in the third, before retiring 12 straight. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Moustakas hit a three-run, line-drive homer to right for a 5-2 lead in the third. It was his 36th of the year and first in 13 games since Aug. 15. He tied Steve Balboni for the most by a Kansas City player in a season. Moustakas is one of four players trailing New York's Aaron Judge by one for the AL lead.

''Once it got to 35 it kind of started creeping in my head a little bit, but that's when I tried to do a little too much,'' he said. ''Today, I was kind of relaxed.''

Making his fourth start of the season, Minnesota's Dillon Gee (1-2) allowed five earned runs in 2 2-3 innings.

Moss hit a two-run home run of Tyler Duffey in the sixth to make it 7-3.

CLOSING A CAREER

Former closer Joe Nathan signed a one-day contract with Minnesota Friday to retire as a Twin.

Nathan, 42, saved 260 games for the Twins during seven seasons - including a career-high 47 in 2009. He also pitched for the Giants, Rangers, Tigers and Cubs during a 16-year career. The six-time all-star, drafted by San Francisco as a shortstop, ranks eighth on the all-time saves list with 377.

''(This was) a ride that I could not have imagined I could have gone down,'' he said during an emotional new conference.

TRAINERS ROOM

Royals: LHP Brian Flynn (left groin strain) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list ... RHP Trevor Cahill (right shoulder impingement syndrome) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.

Twins: CF Byron Buxton, who missed Thursday's game with a bone contusion on his left hand, pinch ran in the ninth. . LHP Hector Santiago was moved to the 60-day disabled list. Out since July 3 with an upper back strain, he is scheduled to make his second rehab start Sunday at Triple-A Rochester.

UP NEXT

Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (8-10, 5.59) is scheduled to face Kansas City's Onelki Garcia (0-0, 7.94) Saturday in game two of the weekend series.

---

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
KC66-67
0050020007121
MIN70-64
201000102690
  • W: J. Hammel (7-10)L: D. Gee (1-2)S: S. Alexander (2)
  • HR: KC - B. Moss (18), M. Moustakas (36), MIN - J. Polanco (10)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
W. Merrifield 2B50100012.282.316.463.7790.5
L. Cain CF51110012.289.352.431.7832.5
M. Cabrera LF-RF51410000.297.336.444.7808.0
P. Orlando PR-RF00000000.149.184.149.3330.0
E. Hosmer 1B31100223.318.384.501.8852.0
S. Perez C40000016.267.295.484.779-0.5
M. Moustakas 3B41131011.275.312.545.8587.5
J. Bonifacio RF21100110.256.322.435.7572.5
A. Gordon LF10000000.198.283.285.5680.0
B. Moss DH41121001.202.288.432.7207.0
A. Escobar SS41200010.237.260.318.5783.5
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    B. Dozier 2B42200011.265.352.478.8305.5
    B. Buxton PR00000000.249.310.401.7100.0
    J. Mauer 1B50220001.297.379.409.7885.0
    J. Polanco SS31231110.258.307.416.7239.5
    E. Rosario LF50000025.290.328.498.826-1.0
    E. Escobar 3B40000022.248.309.398.707-1.0
    M. Kepler RF42200000.249.318.440.7585.0
    M. Garver C40000003.240.345.440.7850.0
    K. Vargas DH40110002.242.297.417.7142.0
    Z. Granite CF31000102.237.310.263.5732.0
      BATTING
      • 2B - M. Cabrera 2 (24), A. Escobar (26)
      • HR - M. Moustakas (36), B. Moss (18)
      • RBI - L. Cain (42), M. Cabrera (72), M. Moustakas 3 (81), B. Moss 2 (36)
      • 2-Out RBI - M. Moustakas 3 (28)
      BATTING
      • 2B - B. Dozier (26), J. Mauer (28), M. Kepler (29)
      • HR - J. Polanco (10)
      • SF - J. Polanco (6)
      • RBI - J. Mauer 2 (54), J. Polanco 3 (58), K. Vargas (35)
      • 2-Out RBI - J. Mauer 2 (21)
      BASERUNNING
      • CS - E. Hosmer
      FIELDING
      • E - W. Merrifield (9)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Hammel (W, 7-10)6.17440314.801.3215.5
      B. Maurer (H, 6)0.20000105.831.390.5
      M. Minor (H, 13)1.01000102.911.002.5
      K. Herrera (H, 2)0.21202003.751.33-3.0
      S. Alexander (S, 2)0.10000102.241.287.5
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Hammel (W, 7-10)6.1
      B. Maurer (H, 6)0.2
      M. Minor (H, 13)1.0
      K. Herrera (H, 2)0.2
      S. Alexander (S, 2)0.1
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      D. Gee (L, 1-2)2.26553214.461.43-12.0
      T. Duffey2.13220314.651.262.5
      R. Pressly1.21000204.731.053.0
      B. Boshers1.10000004.941.323.0
      J. Curtiss1.02000107.712.141.5
      PITCHERSIP
      D. Gee (L, 1-2)2.2
      T. Duffey2.1
      R. Pressly1.2
      B. Boshers1.1
      J. Curtiss1.0
      PITCHING
      • HBP - K. Herrera
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Hammel 97-66, B. Maurer 9-5, M. Minor 18-9, K. Herrera 22-11, S. Alexander 6-4
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Hammel 7-9, B. Maurer 1-0, M. Minor 2-0, K. Herrera 2-1
      • Batters Faced - J. Hammel 26, B. Maurer 2, M. Minor 4, K. Herrera 7, S. Alexander
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - D. Gee 64-37, T. Duffey 41-24, R. Pressly 21-16, B. Boshers 10-6, J. Curtiss 18-14
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Gee 3-2, T. Duffey 1-3, R. Pressly 2-1, B. Boshers 1-2
      • Batters Faced - D. Gee 16, T. Duffey 10, R. Pressly 6, B. Boshers 3, J. Curtiss 5
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      KC66-67
      0050020007121
      MIN70-64
      201000102690
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      W. Merrifield 2B50100012.282.316.463.7790.5
      L. Cain CF51110012.289.352.431.7832.5
      M. Cabrera LF-RF51410000.297.336.444.7808.0
      P. Orlando PR-RF00000000.149.184.149.3330.0
      E. Hosmer 1B31100223.318.384.501.8852.0
      S. Perez C40000016.267.295.484.779-0.5
      M. Moustakas 3B41131011.275.312.545.8587.5
      J. Bonifacio RF21100110.256.322.435.7572.5
      A. Gordon LF10000000.198.283.285.5680.0
      B. Moss DH41121001.202.288.432.7207.0
      A. Escobar SS41200010.237.260.318.5783.5
      Total37712723815-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        B. Dozier 2B42200011.265.352.478.8305.5
        B. Buxton PR00000000.249.310.401.7100.0
        J. Mauer 1B50220001.297.379.409.7885.0
        J. Polanco SS31231110.258.307.416.7239.5
        E. Rosario LF50000025.290.328.498.826-1.0
        E. Escobar 3B40000022.248.309.398.707-1.0
        M. Kepler RF42200000.249.318.440.7585.0
        M. Garver C40000003.240.345.440.7850.0
        K. Vargas DH40110002.242.297.417.7142.0
        Z. Granite CF31000102.237.310.263.5732.0
        Total3669612616-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - M. Cabrera 2 (24), A. Escobar (26)
          • HR - M. Moustakas (36), B. Moss (18)
          • RBI - L. Cain (42), M. Cabrera (72), M. Moustakas 3 (81), B. Moss 2 (36)
          • 2-Out RBI - M. Moustakas 3 (28)
          BATTING
          • 2B - B. Dozier (26), J. Mauer (28), M. Kepler (29)
          • HR - J. Polanco (10)
          • SF - J. Polanco (6)
          • RBI - J. Mauer 2 (54), J. Polanco 3 (58), K. Vargas (35)
          • 2-Out RBI - J. Mauer 2 (21)
          BASERUNNING
          • CS - E. Hosmer
          FIELDING
          • E - W. Merrifield (9)
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          J. Hammel (W, 7-10)6.17440314.801.3215.5
          B. Maurer (H, 6)0.20000105.831.390.5
          M. Minor (H, 13)1.01000102.911.002.5
          K. Herrera (H, 2)0.21202003.751.33-3.0
          S. Alexander (S, 2)0.10000102.241.287.5
          Total9.0964261---
          PITCHERSIP
          J. Hammel (W, 7-10)6.1
          B. Maurer (H, 6)0.2
          M. Minor (H, 13)1.0
          K. Herrera (H, 2)0.2
          S. Alexander (S, 2)0.1
          Total9.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          D. Gee (L, 1-2)2.26553214.461.43-12.0
          T. Duffey2.13220314.651.262.5
          R. Pressly1.21000204.731.053.0
          B. Boshers1.10000004.941.323.0
          J. Curtiss1.02000107.712.141.5
          Total9.01277382---
          PITCHERSIP
          D. Gee (L, 1-2)2.2
          T. Duffey2.1
          R. Pressly1.2
          B. Boshers1.1
          J. Curtiss1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • HBP - K. Herrera
          • Pitches-Strikes - J. Hammel 97-66, B. Maurer 9-5, M. Minor 18-9, K. Herrera 22-11, S. Alexander 6-4
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Hammel 7-9, B. Maurer 1-0, M. Minor 2-0, K. Herrera 2-1
          • Batters Faced - J. Hammel 26, B. Maurer 2, M. Minor 4, K. Herrera 7, S. Alexander
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - D. Gee 64-37, T. Duffey 41-24, R. Pressly 21-16, B. Boshers 10-6, J. Curtiss 18-14
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Gee 3-2, T. Duffey 1-3, R. Pressly 2-1, B. Boshers 1-2
          • Batters Faced - D. Gee 16, T. Duffey 10, R. Pressly 6, B. Boshers 3, J. Curtiss 5
          • 9TH INNING
            Mauer singled to center, Kepler and Granite scored, Buxton to third76
          • 7TH INNING
            Vargas singled to center, Kepler scored74
          • 6TH INNING
            Moss homered to center, Bonifacio scored73
          • 3RD INNING
            Polanco hit sacrifice fly to left, Dozier scored, Mauer to third53
            Moustakas homered to right, Cabrera and Hosmer scored52
            Cabrera doubled to left center, Cain scored22
            Cain singled to center, Escobar scored12
          • 1ST INNING
            Polanco homered to right center, Dozier scored02
          • 9TH INNING
            • John Curtiss relieved Buddy Boshers
            • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Escobar singled to left
            • W. Merrifield: Merrifield popped out to shortstop
            • L. Cain: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Cain flied out to right
            • M. Cabrera: Strike swinging, Cabrera singled to left, Escobar to second
            • Paulo Orlando ran for Melky Cabrera
            • E. Hosmer: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Hosmer struck out looking
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Kelvin Herrera relieved Mike Minor
            • M. Kepler: Strike looking, Ball, Kepler safe at first on 2nd baseman Merrifield fielding error
            • M. Garver: Strike looking, Garver popped out to second
            • K. Vargas: Strike swinging, Foul, Vargas grounded out to second, Kepler to second
            • Z. Granite: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Granite walked
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Ball, Dozier hit by pitch, Kepler to third, Granite to second
            • Byron Buxton ran for Brian Dozier
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Mauer singled to center, Kepler and Granite scored, Buxton to third
            • J. Polanco: Ball, Ball, Ball
            • Polanco walked, Mauer to second
            • E. Rosario: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Rosario struck out swinging
            • End of the 9th (2 Runs, 1 Hit, 1 Error)
          • 8TH INNING
            • B. Boshers Pitching:
            • M. Moustakas: Ball, Moustakas flied out to deep left
            • A. Gordon: Ball, Foul, Ball, Gordon grounded out to shortstop
            • B. Moss: Moss lined out to first
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Mike Minor relieved Brandon Maurer
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Mauer grounded out to shortstop
            • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Polanco singled to center
            • E. Rosario: Ball, Rosario grounded out to second, Polanco to second
            • E. Escobar: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Escobar struck out swinging
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • R. Pressly Pitching:
            • M. Cabrera: Strike looking, Cabrera grounded out to second
            • E. Hosmer: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Hosmer singled to center
            • S. Perez: Foul, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Strike swinging, Perez struck out swinging
            • Buddy Boshers relieved Ryan Pressly
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Hosmer caught stealing, catcher to shortstop
            • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Kepler doubled to left
            • M. Garver: Strike looking, Ball, Garver grounded out to shortstop, Kepler to third
            • K. Vargas: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Vargas singled to center, Kepler scored
            • Brandon Maurer relieved Jason Hammel
            • Z. Granite: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Granite reached on fielder's choice to shortstop, Vargas out at second
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Dozier struck out looking
            • End of the 7th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • T. Duffey Pitching:
            • J. Bonifacio: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Bonifacio singled to center
            • B. Moss: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Moss homered to center, Bonifacio scored
            • Ryan Pressly relieved Tyler Duffey
            • A. Escobar: Escobar flied out to deep left
            • W. Merrifield: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Merrifield struck out swinging
            • L. Cain: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Cain grounded out to second
            • Middle of the 6th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Alex Gordon in left
            • J. Polanco: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Polanco struck out swinging
            • E. Rosario: Rosario grounded out to second
            • E. Escobar: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Escobar popped out to third
            • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • T. Duffey Pitching:
            • M. Cabrera: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Cabrera singled to center
            • E. Hosmer: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul tip, Hosmer struck out on foul tip
            • S. Perez: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Perez popped out to shortstop
            • M. Moustakas: Moustakas grounded out to second
            • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • Z. Granite: Ball, Granite grounded out to second
            • B. Dozier: Foul, Dozier grounded out to third
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Mauer grounded out to second
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • T. Duffey Pitching:
            • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Escobar struck out swinging
            • W. Merrifield: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Merrifield lined out to right
            • L. Cain: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Cain struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • M. Kepler: Strike looking, Kepler flied out to left
            • M. Garver: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Garver grounded out to shortstop
            • K. Vargas: Strike swinging, Ball, Vargas popped out to third
            • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • D. Gee Pitching:
            • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Escobar doubled to left center
            • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Merrifield grounded out to second, Escobar to third
            • L. Cain: Foul, Cain singled to center, Escobar scored
            • M. Cabrera: Cabrera doubled to left center, Cain scored
            • E. Hosmer: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Hosmer walked
            • S. Perez: Perez flied out to center
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Moustakas homered to right, Cabrera and Hosmer scored
            • J. Bonifacio: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bonifacio walked
            • Tyler Duffey relieved Dillon Gee
            • B. Moss: Ball, Moss lined out to center
            • Middle of the 3rd (5 Runs, 4 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Dozier singled to left
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Mauer doubled to deep left, Dozier to third
            • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Polanco hit sacrifice fly to left, Dozier scored, Mauer to third
            • E. Rosario: Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Rosario flied out to shallow center
            • E. Escobar: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Escobar struck out swinging
            • End of the 3rd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • D. Gee Pitching:
            • M. Moustakas: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Moustakas struck out swinging
            • J. Bonifacio: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Bonifacio struck out swinging
            • B. Moss: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Moss grounded out to first
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • M. Kepler: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Kepler singled to left
            • M. Garver: Strike looking, Garver flied out to deep center
            • K. Vargas: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Vargas fouled out to third
            • Z. Granite: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Granite grounded out to pitcher
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • D. Gee Pitching:
            • W. Merrifield: Ball, Merrifield singled to center
            • L. Cain: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Cain grounded into double play shortstop to first, Merrifield out at second
            • M. Cabrera: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Cabrera doubled to deep right
            • E. Hosmer: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Hosmer walked
            • S. Perez: Ball, Perez lined out to second
            • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • B. Dozier: Strike swinging, Dozier doubled to deep center
            • J. Mauer: Foul, Ball, Mauer lined out to center, Dozier to third
            • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Polanco homered to right center, Dozier scored
            • E. Rosario: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul tip, Rosario struck out on foul tip
            • E. Escobar: Foul, Foul, Ball, Escobar flied out to center
            • End of the 1st (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)