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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins postgame thoughts on quality at bats, Sano and Bucknor

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 6-4 win over Kansas City

THEY KNOW HOW TO GRIND: It looks like it's going to be a trait of this team. Ian Kennedy held the Twins to two runs on two hits, which is not shabby at all. But he had to leave with one out in the sixth because the Twins forced him to throw 110 pitches during that period. They drew three walks, but worked other counts well. I did not see this coming. The quality of at bats has improved, with Miguel Sano leading the way. The deeper stats show that he's chasing few bad pitches and making contact in the strike zone more often. 

SANO, THE BREAKOUT SEASON: It was Sano's foul ball that clobbered C.B. Bucknor in the eighth inning and forced him from the game. The delay was about six minutes, but Sano stood by the heater while Fieldin Culbreth slipped into his gear to replace Bucknor. Joakim Soria's next pitch was that slow breaking ball that he likes to throw. Sano was ready for it and nearly had a grand slam. It ended up being a two-run double. Sano said he was looking for a fastball but was able to adjust to the breaking ball.  "I stayed hot, I stretched a lot," Sano said. "When they call me up he threw a nice little breaking ball, hanging it. I made contact." Sano entered Friday leading the AL in walks. With his four RBI tonight, he's one behind Albert Pujols for the AL lead.

UPDATE ON BUCKNOR: Home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor passed initial concussion protocol after leaving the game. But he's going to be examined again Saturday. He took one serious blow to the mask. Hope he's O.K.

WEATHER ALERT: Kansas City is bracing for plenty of rain tomorrow. So I'm not sure if we are going to play or not.

Twins visiting a Royals team with the worst offense in baseball

The Twins can take advantage of a Royals team that is struggling to score runs right now.

Kansas City has scored two or fewer runs in nine of its last 10 games, and its 2.6 runs a game is the lowest in baseball. The 54 runs the Royals have scored are 17 fewer than the 29th ranked offense. And the Royals are batting .157 with runners in scoring position ON THE SEASON.

That could be good news for Twins righthander Kyle Gibson, who needs a good outing in the worst way. Gibson enters tonight with a 9.00 ERA.  It's a matchup in which something has got to give.

If Joe Mauer needs a place to get on a roll, this is it. He's a career .331 hitter at Kauffman Stadium. However, he's 3-for-17 against Ian Kennedy in his career. I's surprised Eduardo Escobar is not in the lineup since he's batting .438 against Kennedy.

Will check back with any updates. Might get kicked out of the clubhouse because I'm sick and germy.

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Miguel Sano, 3B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Robbie Grossman, DH
Jason Castro, C
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, LF
Byron Buxton, CF

Kyle Gibson, RHP

Royals

Whit Merrifield, 2B
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Salvador Perez, C
Alex Gordon, LF
Alcides Escobar, SS
Brandon Moss, DH
Jorge Bonifacio, RF

Ian Kennedy, RHP

6:15 PM (FSN)
Minnesota 11-11
Kansas City 7-15