Jorge Polanco hit a three-run home run to highlight a five-run first inning and help lead the visiting Minnesota Twins to a 7-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
It was the 33rd home run of the season for Polanco, extending his club single-season record for a switch-hitter. Byron Buxton also homered and doubled and Luis Arraez went 3-for-4 with two runs for Minnesota (73-89), which finished in fifth place in the American League’s Central Division.
Nick Vincent (1-0), the third of five Twins pitchers, picked up the win with two hitless innings of relief while Jorge Alcala earned his first major league save, striking out three of the four batters he faced.
Carlos Santana went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Michael A. Taylor added two hits and an RBI for Kansas City (74-88), which finished fourth in the AL Central.
Jackson Kowar (0-6) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on five hits over four innings while striking out six. Kowar failed to record an out against the first six hitters of the game, allowing five hits and a walk, but rebounded to retire the last 12 batters he faced.
The Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first. Arraez led off with a bloop single to center, went to third on Buxton’s line-drive double down the left field line and then scored on Polanco’s 404-foot homer to right-center. Josh Donaldson followed with walk, went to third on a single by Max Kepler and then scored on a single by Miguel Sano. Kepler scored one out later on fielder’s choice by Nick Gordon.
The Royals chased Twins starter Charlie Barnes with three runs in the third. Shortstop Nicky Lopez led off with an infield single that bumped his batting average to an even .300, and Kyle Isbel pinch-ran for him. After Salvador Perez was hit by a pitch, Santana singled to drive in Isbel.
Perez later scored when Adalberto Mondesi, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and catcher Ryan Jeffers’ throw bounced into center field. Taylor followed with a single to drive in Mondesi.
Buxton, who played in just 61 games this season because of hip and hand injuries, extended Minnesota’s lead to 7-3 in the fifth with his 19th homer in 234 at-bats, a 420-foot drive to left that drove in Arraez, who had singled.
–Field Level Media