Jose Berrios brought the pizazz back on Friday. Salvador Perez wasn’t too shabby either.
The Twins righthander made a strong bid to end his victory drought by clamping down on the Royals lineup. But Perez sent the Royals to victory in a big way, clubbing a 3-2 ninth-inning bases-loaded pitch from Trevor Hildenberger into the left-center seats to cap a 8-4 victory.
It’s the 13th walkoff loss for the Twins this season.
The Twins fell behind 2-0 early but rallied with three runs in the fifth inning against Kansas City righthander Jorge Lopez.
Lopez left the game during that inning with a left rib contusion, taking the luster out of the rematch after Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning at Target Field last Saturday before giving up a run.
Berrios, meanwhile, looked sharp. His fastball hit 95 mph several times. His curveball led to awkward swings. And he mixed in an effective changeup too.
After giving up an RBI single in the first and sacrifice fly in the second, Berrios put his foot down. He struck out the side in the fourth inning, which came in midst of a run of retiring nine straight Royals hitters. In six innings, Berrios gave up two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out nine, his most strikeouts since July 24 at Toronto. He was in position to end a winless drought that was up to six straight starts.
The Twins scored three runs in the fifth on a RBI double by Joe Mauer and RBI singles by Jake Cave and Robbie Grossman. Willians Astudillo added a RBI single in the seventh to make it 4-2.
Adalberto Mondesi homered off reliever Trevor May in the eighth to draw the Royals with a run at 4-3 before the dramatic ninth inning.
Mauer’s double also was noteworthy. It was his 598th extra base hit, breaking a tie with Tony Olivia for fourth place on the Twins all-time list.
Righthander Alan Busenitz has been in a rut lately, with Thursday’s outing standing out.
Busenitz faced three Royals batters, giving up a double then back-to-back home runs.
Over his last four outings, Busenitz has given up nine earned runs on eight hits and three walks — and four home runs.
“It’s very frustrating because I know what I’m capable of and I’m not doing it,” Busenitz said. “You gotta work on it and get better and not make the same stupid mistakes.”
Busenitz’s fastball, according to fangraphs.com, is averaging 95.3 miles per hour. He also has a curveball the Twins feel is a quality pitch. But they are still waiting for Busenitz, 28, to put it all together.
Instead, they are seeing the same mistakes.
“He needs the breaking ball,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I think it has been hit and miss.”
• Catcher Mitch Garver took batting practice today and is getting closer to being available for a game. Garver took a foul ball off the mask on Sunday.
•Miguel Sano also took batting practice as he recovers from lower left leg soreness, but the Twins will continue to take it easy with him.
•The Twins have extended their player development contract with Class A Fort Myers for four more years.