Brian Dozier votes for traditional doubleheaders, like the one the Twins played on Sunday against the Royals, and not day-night doubleheaders, like the one they played on Thursday against the Rockies.
“I think we were drained after the Colorado one,” the Twins second baseman said. “I think we’re good to have a traditional one rather than be here all day again.”
Weather dictated that the Twins experienced both in a span of four days. The outcomes ended up the same — they split each twinbill. On Sunday, the Twins dropped the first game 6-4 to Kansas City before bouncing back in the nightcap to win 8-4.
It ended a challenging week for the Twins. They had to brush up on the rules on makeup games and when they can use their 26th man. More importantly, the Twins had to scramble to assemble a starting rotation to get through the postponements.
“It’s great when it goes smoothly,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But this is more common than not, kind of making adjustments as you go.”
“Last year,’’ he said before pausing, “we went through a lot of pitchers. Maybe not for the same reasons.”
True, the path to 103 losses last season demanded many calls to Class AAA Rochester. The Twins are noticeably better this season, which was evident Sunday when they bounced back in the second game to beat Kansas City to improve to 7-1 against the Royals this season.
Rookie Adalberto Mejia, called up as the 26th man on Sunday, pitched seven solid innings and benefited from a power surge by the Twins.
Mejia immediately put the Twins in a hole before settling down. Salvador Perez crushed a Mejia pitch to left for a two-run homer in the first inning to open the scoring. The Twins answered in the bottom of the inning with two-run homers from Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler for a 4-2 lead.
Dozier added an RBI double in the second. Perez hit his second homer of the game — and third of the day — in the fourth to pull Kansas City within 5-3.
The Twins scored twice in the fourth, including a solo homer by Chris Gimenez to take a 7-3 lead. Kennys Vargas’ RBI single in the seventh made it 8-3.
Meanwhile, Mejia proved he could throw strikes and work from ahead in the count. In seven innings, he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in notching his first major league victory.
“Mejia worked really fast, which is really good for the second game of a doubleheader,” Dozier said. “A few [Royals] on second base said his ball was moving a lot. He pounded the zone. Made a couple mistakes but came right back.”
Mejia had to return to Rochester after the game but is expected back in the majors soon.
“I’m going to go down there and work on the things they told me to work on,” Mejia said. “Then it will be up to them to see when I get back.”
In the first game, the Royals jumped to a 5-0 lead behind a two-run homer by Perez in the second inning, then back-to-back homers by Jorge Bonifacio and Brandan Moss in the fourth. The Twins got within 5-4 but could get no closer. Moss homered again in the eighth.
The Twins had a 30-minute turnaround after the first game and jumped on Kansas City righthander Ian Kennedy, who was making his first start since coming off the disabled list.
The Twins later Sunday learned that righthander Phil Hughes, who started the opener, experienced discomfort in his shoulder during his outing. They placed him on the 10-day disabled list. Mejia’s work helped the Twins avoid getting swept by the Royals after Kansas City took advantage of the ailing Hughes to win the first game.
“Overall, you have to be pleased,” Molitor said. “You get seven innings and bounce back after you let the first one slip away.”