Associated Press Minnesota Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak throws against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Friday, September 20, 2019 11:35 pm
Twins top Royals 4-3, move closer to AL Central title
BRIAN HALL | Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS – Randy Dobnak pitched 5 1/3 innings for his first major league win, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Friday night.
Minnesota won for the sixth time in eight games to maintain its four-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. It reduced its magic number to clinch the division title to five with eight games to play.
Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run double for the Twins, and Miguel Sanó had a run-scoring triple.
Kansas City has dropped seven of eight to fall to 56-99. It is one defeat away from its second consecutive 100-loss season and No. 6 in franchise history.
The Royals could give the majors four 100-loss teams in a single season for only the second time.
Dobnak (1-1) surrendered one run and three hits in his fourth start and eighth major league appearance overall. He has surrendered two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings over his past two outings.
Trevor May struck out the side in his second save of the season.
Eric Skoglund (0-2) gave up two runs and three hits in four innings for Kansas City.
Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Nelson Cruz hit a sacrifice fly, and Sanó tripled home Jorge Polanco.
Kansas City got one back on Alex Gordon's RBI double in the sixth, but Gonzalez responded with his two-run double in the bottom half.
Minnesota outfielder Byron Buxton was back in the team's clubhouse after he had left shoulder surgery on Sept. 10.
Buxton said the surgery was to repair the labrum and he'll be in recovery and rehab for four to six months. Buxton's left arm will be immobilized in a sling for six weeks. He hopes to be ready for the start of spring training next season.
"It was a little bit better than what they anticipated, which is a very good part," Buxton said. "It's just one of those things. Frustrating, but it's part of the process."
Buxton got hurt when he collided with the center-field wall in Miami on Aug. 1.
"I think I just hit it at an awkward angle," Buxton said. "I know I felt it when I dislocated it. But at the time, with the adrenaline pumping, you don't really think about it."
Royals: DH Jorge Soler fouled a ball off the top of his left foot during an at-bat in the third inning and was checked out by trainers before staying in the game.
Twins: 1B C.J. Cron started for the first time since Sept. 15. He is dealing with a bruised thumb. Manager Rocco Baldelli said the team has "been experimenting a little bit" with some of the rehab work to allow Cron to return. Baldelli said Cron won't play every day but is feeling better.
Royals: Right-hander Glenn Sparkman (4-11, 6.02 ERA) will start against Minnesota for the fourth time this season.
Twins: Right-hander José Berríos (13-8, 3.58 ERA) has given up just two runs in 14 1/3 innings over his last two starts.
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