Here are three thoughts following the Twins third straight win.
INTERESTING RELAY MOMENT: Alcides Escobar doubled to left in the fifth inning, and Paulo Orlando scored the tying run at the time. It looks liked the Twins had botched the plate. Either Danny Santana made an unwise decision to attempt to throw Escobar out at second - Escobar was safe on a close play - or Jorge Polanco was in the wrong position for a relay. Indications after the game were that Polanco needed to decide to prepare for a throw home or set up at second with the option to cut to home and ended up in between. "We worked on that play," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "When you are going to prioritize shutting down the run or maybe having a chance to throw a guy out at second. If he's lining up to second base, he can make that cut and shut that run off. Early in the game, you hate discouraging a guy from throwing a runner out, but you hate to lose a run on the back end." Santana looked up, saw where Polanco was, and threw to second. Once KC third base coach Mike Jirschele saw the throw go to second he waved Orlando home. Good move by the Royals to pounce on what is a tough read for an infielder. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said if Santana's throw was a tad better, he might have tagged Escobar out. "In my opinion it was a heck of a play by Danny," Dozier said. "Very aggressive, try to keep the double play in order. I like that play all day long." Folks in the clubhouse said that particular play is a tough read for an infielder.
BUXTON AND STRIKEOUTS: One of the surprising elements of Paul Molitor's batting orders has been using Byron Buxton in the No. 3, and his 1-for-14 start with seven strikeouts is not helping the situation. Buxton has chased a lot of bad pitches and seems to be 0-2 or 1-2 in most of his at bats. He did draw a walk in his last at bat on Thursday, so he has something to build off of. But before that, he had a chance for a big hit in the sixth with the bases loaded but struck out on three pitches. Buxton is going to be a power-speed combo guy, I have no doubt of that. But the Twins have to help him settle down, relax and be a little more selective at the plate. "We're trying to get him to just settle in," Molitor said. "Similarly to the 3-0 start, it can seem magnified . He's having a little tough time with the bat right now. Let's let it play out. Let him get some more at-bats." So no chance he's moved down in the order? "I'm not thinking about doing that right now," Molitor said. "We just won three games." And I'll remind myself of this again: Reacting after three games is the smallest of sample sizes.
ABOUT THE ROYALS: This is not the same Royals team that played in two straight World Series. I think their offense is going to be O.K., but I'm not fired up about their pitching staff. After Danny Duffy, they send Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Nathan Karns and Jason Vargas to the mound. Seriously, after Duffy, the Twins rotation looks more attractive than that quartet. And the bullpen likes the bite of past years, when live arm after live arm would lock down leads after six innings. Kansas City is going to have to fight to finish in third place in the AL Central because I don't think they have the arms to be a winning team.