The Royals have taken it to the Twins all season and finished the division battle in style on Thursday, winning 3-1 to sweep the battered Twins in the three-game series.
Kansas City scored all its runs in the second inning and got solid pitching from lefthander Bruce Chen, who held the Twins to one run over 5⅔ innings — on Brian Dozier’s solo home run in the sixth inning. Kansas City went 15-4 against the Twins this season, the most wins by any opponent against the Twins in one season.
“They have a lot to offer,” said Terry Steinbach, subbing for the ejected Ron Gardenhire. “They’re a team that has some speed, they have some power. They have some great arms coming out of the bullpen. To sum it up, it is how you want to build a club. But we can still hit those guys. We had a couple opportunities to score runs and we just needed to capitalize on them a little more and that would have put us right back in the game.”
The Twins, who have lost five straight overall and seven straight home games, ended the game with two injured players and one manager with a lighter wallet.
Gardenhire was ejected in the second inning when righthander Samuel Deduno hit Justin Maxwell with a pitch. Maxwell was hit on Wednesday night, so he was a little steamed and looked out toward the mound as he walked to first, with Twins catcher Ryan Doumit and plate umpire Alan Porter as escorts.
Porter then issued warnings to both teams — the second straight day that has happened — bringing Gardenhire out of the dugout to complain. After a few moments, Gardenhire was tossed for the fourth time this season and 66th overall. Gardenhire leads all active managers in ejections.
“In Sammy’s case, he didn’t have his good control,” Steinbach said, “and we didn’t think a warning was warranted.”
Deduno, removed after three innings because of a sore shoulder, said he felt great early in his outing but felt something when he threw a fastball later in his outing. The Twins decided to take no chances and removed him from the game.
“I wanted to keep pitching,” he said.
Deduno reported problems with his shoulder two starts ago but was able to take the ball last Friday in Cleveland and earned the win. Now it appears as if Deduno will have an MRI exam on his shoulder. Steinbach said Deduno’s command has been off and his pitches don’t have the same snap they did a month ago.
“It’s not the same Sammy,” Steinbach said. “So we have to figure out what’s going on.”
Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez left the game in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his left shin and crumpling to the ground in pain. Ramirez had to be helped off the field, and Twins were waiting for the results of a MRI exam on Thursday night.
“He got hit pretty hard,” Steinbach said.
• The Twins entered Thursday’s game shorthanded as outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been shut down because of a sore shoulder. Gardenhire said Arcia would be on the disabled list if it was earlier in the season. The Twins hope Arcia will be able to swing a bat during the Rangers series.
• Brian Dozier has 14 home runs, tying him with Tim Teufel for the most by a second baseman in Twins history. Rod Carew also hit 14 home runs in 1975, but one came as a first baseman.
• Reliever Casey Fien has a 19.29 ERA over his past seven appearances, and Gardenhire is concerned. “Have to keep an eye on Fiener,” he said. ’