KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Twins lost for the 10th time in 11 games on Wednesday, but it was the Royals who felt worse: They were officially eliminated from wild-card contention, ending their hopes of defending their world championship. Here are two extras from the night:
Kennys Vargas didn’t realize he had broken up a streak of historic proportions. He was busy trying not to do too much.
Vargas launched his ninth home run of the season on Wednesday, a two-out, two-strike blast off Kevin McCarthey in the sixth inning, to tie his career high and drive home two runs. That was significant because the Twins had played 106 consecutive innings without scoring more than one run in an inning, the longest such streak of futility in 74 years.
“I just tried to put into the game what I’ve been working on with [hitting coach Tom Brunansky]: Stay short,” Vargas said of the swing that tied Wednesday’s game 2-2. “I did, and I got a home run.”
The last time a team went so long without a two-run inning was in 1942, when the Phillies played 109 straight innings from May 23-June 3 without putting a crooked number on the scoreboard.
“It’s part of the game,” Vargas said of the unfortunate streak. “Some years good, some years not too good.”
Taylor Rogers absorbed his first loss as a major-leaguer after being charged with all three Kansas City runs in the eighth inning. But manager Paul Molitor insisted that Rogers was not to blame.
“It’s not on him,” Molitor said. “He’s done a really nice job this year overall, transitioning [from being a starter to the bullpen]. He’s been reliable as well as available. It’s just one of those nights where a couple pitches didn’t go where he wanted to, and he had to deal with the consequences. But I’m not faulting him by any means.”
That’s because the game-tying hit wasn’t hit particularly hard, just a fly ball by Kendrys Morales that landed fair by two feet and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring Jarrod Dyson scoring from third.
“It looked like it got in on him a little bit, but he’s big and he’s strong,” Molitor said of the game-breaking hit by Morales, who now has 30 RBIs in September. “I was trusting Rogers a little bit, giving him a chance to get off the field. And [Morales] just dunked it down there.”