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Max Kepler ends slump, leads Twins past Royals

Sportsnaut
Aug 15, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez (2) misses a single by Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (not pictured) in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Max Kepler broke out of a 0-for-29 slump with three hits and an RBI to help lead the Minnesota Twins to a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in Minneapolis.

Byron Buxton also had two hits and Carlos Correa reached base three times with a single and two walks for Minnesota, which won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Joe Ryan (9-5) picked up the win allowing two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six. Jorge Lopez, despite allowing two hits, pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 21st save.

Vinnie Pasquantino homered and Salvador Perez, Michael Massey and Nicky Lopez each had two hits for Kansas City. Kris Bubic (2-7) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings.

Kansas City jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Perez singled and scored on Pasquantino’s eighth home run of the season, a 411-foot drive into the plaza in right field. It was the fifth homer in seven games for the reigning American League Player of the Week.

Minnesota cut it to 2-1 in the second when Jorge Polanco led off with a single, advanced to second on a single by Nick Gordon and scored one out later on a single by Kepler that snapped the 0-for-29 skid for Kepler.

The Twins then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Luis Arraez and Correa led off with back-to-back singles and one out later, Miranda singled in Arraez. Polanco then drove in Correa with what would prove to be the winning run with a sacrifice fly.

Minnesota extended its lead in the sixth when Kepler hit a double that one-hopped the wall in right and scored on a single by Gary Sanchez.

The Royals got the tying runs on base in the ninth when Ryan O’Hearn led off with a double and went to third one out later on a single by Nicky Lopez. But Jorge Lopez then induced MJ Melendez to ground into a game ending 3-6-3 double play.

–Field Level Media