- Associated Press - Friday, August 19, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor labeled it “unraveling.”

Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey (8-9) retired the first 10 hitters, striking out four. But he only got one out from the final seven batters he faced before being removed by Molitor in an 8-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

After Cheslor Cuthbert’s single with one out in the fourth, Duffey walked three and hit a batter with Alex Gordon’s third career grand slam punctuating the inning. Duffey was replaced by Michael Tonkin after 3 2-3 innings, allowing five runs.

“Unraveling, that’s one word you can use,” Molitor said. “He had a nice start to the game. He rolled through the first 10 hitters. But, you know, it’s just one of those things, the young guys, they get in certain situations where, as much as you preach to them to slow down, they just have trouble doing it.”

After Cuthbert’s hit, Duffey walked Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales and hit Salvador Perez with a pitch with the bases loaded.

“Gordon’s been hot ever since he left our park,” Molitor said. “He just misplaced a fastball and you’re looking at five runs on two hits. So, it was tough.”

The Royals have won five straight and eight of nine to move above .500 for the first time since July 22. Royals starting pitchers have a 1.61 ERA in the five-game winning streak, allowing 23 hits and six earned runs in 33 2-3 innings, striking out 27 and walking seven.

Gordon, who was hitting .199 with 16 RBIs on Aug. 9, extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games, hiking his average to .219. Gordon has homered in three consecutive games.

“I think I tried to adjust by being better, and ultimately being worse,” Duffey said. “Just kind of missing arm side with a fastball, then I end up yanking a curveball and then the one that Gordon hit out wasn’t necessarily a good pitch to hit. It just went right into his swing path. And then, giving up a grand slam, that’s what happens when you walk a guy and hit a guy. That’s a really good lineup. I gave them some chances and they took full advantage of it.”

Dillon Gee (5-6) picked up the Royals’ first victory from a No. 5 starter since May 31. The Royals are 9-21 is games started by the fifth starter.

Gee, who is 3-6 in 10 starts, gave up a home run to Brian Dozier on his third pitch. It was Dozier’s 14th career leadoff homer and his 27th for the season. He has homered in five straight games against the Royals.

That was the only run Gee would allow as he limited the Twins to four singles after the home run, walked one and struck out seven. Gee’s seven innings were a season high.

“He didn’t throw too many heaters,” Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman said. “He really kept us off balance, threw his off-speed for strikes. That was a key for him.”

The Royals added three runs in the eighth with Morales and Eric Hosmer both driving in a run. The other run scored on a throwing error by center fielder Eddie Rosario.

Cuthbert had three of the Royals’ seven hits, bringing his hit total to 100, which ranks second among AL rookies.


Royals: LHP Jason Vargas, who has not pitched this season after Tommy John surgery in July 2015, made his third rehab start Wednesday, giving up three runs and four hits, including two home runs, in 2 1-3 innings for Northwest Arkansas against Corpus Christi. He threw 42 pitches, 27 for strikes, while striking out one and walking none.


Twins: RHP Jose Berrios yielded six runs, eight hits and a walk in two innings in his previous start, a 15-7 loss to Houston.

Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three 2016 starts against the Twins.

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