- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. No outs. Down by only three runs.

Yet still another dud of an inning for the Minnesota Twins.

Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer, Lorenzo Cain had four hits and two RBIs, and the Kansas City Royals picked up where their bats left off the night before while beating the tumbling Twins 7-4 on Tuesday.

Wade Davis worked a wobbly ninth for his 12th save in 13 attempts, preserving the seventh win for the Royals in their last nine games. They raised their two-game total in Minnesota this week to 30 hits and improved to 5-0 against the Twins this season.

Eduardo Escobar had three hits, including the leadoff double against Davis, but the Twins dropped their eighth straight game at home to the division rival Royals. They fell to 4-19 against the American League Central this year, including an astounding 0-17 against Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City.



Davis walked two batters after Escobar to load the bases, but he rebounded with strikeouts of Eduardo Nunez and Joe Mauer and a routine fly out by Miguel Sano. That’s difficult to do without allowing a run, but the way the Twins (11-34) have been playing the outcome was hardly a surprise.

“But that was just a small part of the game,” manager Paul Molitor said.

Perez has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .415 (17 for 41) during that stretch. He’s a .415 career hitter (22 for 53) at Target Field.

After going 5 for 5 in the series opener, missing the cycle by a home run, Perez went deep just one day and a couple of innings too late. The three-time All-Star catcher followed a leadoff walk by Kendrys Morales in the second inning with a soaring drive off his 2013 teammate Ervin Santana that landed in the grass behind the wall in center field for a 2-0 lead.

That was all Edinson Volquez (5-4) needed to pick up his fifth victory, matching the cumulative total for Twins starters this season.

Volquez has given up four or more runs in four of his last six turns, and he surrendered six hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings in this one. The right-hander struck out six, though, and was stuck with two unearned runs in the fourth when right fielder Paulo Orlando let a clean single by Escobar skip off his glove for an error that allowed two Twins to come home.

Santana (1-3) lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits, six runs and two walks in the second time this month he failed to finish the fourth inning. The right-hander turned in two strong starts in between, but for the $55 million contract he signed before last season he has not come close to delivering for the Twins.

“We want to do our job and stay longer in the game, but with how things are going right now it’s very tough,” Santana said.

After another expensive underperforming veteran, Ricky Nolasco, was knocked out early on Monday night, the bullpen has been taxed lately.

“They’re taking the ball, so I give them credit for that because they’ve been asked to do that quite frequently,” Molitor said.

STRUGGLING SANO

Sano moved to DH to give Byung Ho-Park, who ended an 0-for-21 skid with a single on Monday. But Sano struck out three times and could probably use a rest himself. He’s batting .219 with 66 strikeouts in 160 at-bats.

“I think he’s a little off,” Molitor said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Cheslor Cuthbert played 3B for Mike Moustakas, whose status was again day to day with a bruised knee.

Twins: 2B Brian Dozier was on the bench for the second straight game, before drawing a pinch-hit walk in the ninth. He’s in a 1-for-19 slide and batting .199.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 2.90 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Wednesday, after picking up his first victory with Kansas City on Friday.

Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey (1-3, 3.30 ERA) will take the mound in the matinee to finish the series, after allowing a season-high six runs to Toronto on Friday.

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