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Mar 30, 2024 7:12 pm

Twins use 4-run ninth to rally past Royals

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Christian Vazquez sparked a ninth-inning rally to help the Minnesota Twins top the host Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Saturday afternoon.

With one out, Vazquez sliced a 1-2 pitch down the left-field line, scoring Ryan Jeffers to break a 1-1 tie. Alex Kirilloff’s sacrifice fly and Byron Buxton’s two-run double capped the four-run inning against Will Smith (0-1).

Griffin Jax (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory.

The Twins’ bullpen allowed two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings while Royals relievers surrendered five hits, five runs, and two walks in three innings.

Minnesota starter Joe Ryan was perfect through three innings, although Salvador Pérez nearly homered leading off the second, hitting a high drive to left that landed foul. After a short umpire review, the call was confirmed and the game remained scoreless.

Bobby Witt Jr.’s fourth-inning double off the center-field wall gave Kansas City its first baserunner.

In the sixth, Witt hit his second double of the game — and third this season. Minnesota took out Ryan after that at-bat. He threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Three batters later, against reliever Steven Okert, MJ Melendez bounced a single through the left side, scoring Witt for the Royals’ first lead of the new season. The hit was Kansas City’s first with runners in scoring position. They went 0-for6 in their 4-1 loss to the Twins on Thursday.

After early struggles to locate his four-seam fastball, Royals starter Seth Lugo shifted to off-speed deliveries, limiting Minnesota to just two singles while fanning four over six shutout innings.

The Twins’ first two batters reached to open the fourth, but Lugo escaped damage on Melendez’s diving catch in left.

Edouard Julien doubled to lead off the eighth against James McArthur. Julien scored when Buxton chopped a double beyond third baseman Maikel Garcia’s reach, tying the score, 1-1. Buxton delivered two doubles and three RBIs in the game.

— Field Level Media

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