Kauffman Stadium was just what the Royals needed in order to put an end to a recent six-game losing streak. After going 0-for-6 on the most recent road trip to Texas and Cleveland, Kansas City came back to the home ballpark and defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-3 Friday evening, before a good sized crowd of 31,407.
Bruce Chen took to the hill for Kansas City as they looked to move back to .500 against Scott Baker of the slumping Twins. After suffering through some putrid starts recently by Royals starters, Chen went 5.1 innings giving up three runs on eight hits and came away with a no decision. Chen didn't allow a run until the fifth, when he gave up a solo home run to Minnesota's Luke Hughes.
Kansas City tied the game against Baker in the bottom of the fifth, but the Twins came right back and took a 3-1 lead after six innings. At the time the Royals had now gone roughly 60+ innings without having a lead in a game, but the Royals came through infront of the home fans late behind the most unlikely of heroes.
The Royals scored one run in the seventh off Baker to close the gap to a 3-2 Minnesota advantage, before Alex Burnett came on to relieve Baker, who went 6.1 innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits.
While the Royals bullpen pitching solid relief, the Royals posted two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a sequence of outstanding players by speedy Royals reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
After one out, Wilson Betemit doubled to the gap in left field, hustling to beat out the throw to second. Kila Ka`aihue then hit a hard grounder up the middle that the Royals benefited from Betemit, standing at second base, was in the way of Twins' shortstop Alexi Cassilla from fielding the ball. Betemit advanced to third on the grounder while Dyson came in to pinch-run for Ka`aihue, who was 2-for4 on the evening and is back above .200, now batting .203 this seaosn.
When Dyson comes into the game, you almost get the feeling you are watching Willie Mays Hayes from the Major League movies, as you know if he's on base he will be trying to advance every time.
With Brayan Pena at the plate, Dyson took off on the first pitch and Minnesota catcher Drew Butera's throw landed in center field as Betemit came down the line to tie the game and Dyson advanced to third on the play. The stolen base was Dyson's sixth on the season.
Pena eventually walked, which brought up Alcides Escobar with still just one out. After not being able to get down the squeeze play, Escobar lofted a pop fly to short left-field. The play was short enough that Casilla ran out from short to make the play. What transpired was something I have never seen before in all my years of watching baseball. With Casilla's body being moving away from home plate, Dyson tagged up and raced home easily beating the throw and sliding across the plate as Kansas City took a 4-3 win which Joakim Soria protected the ninth inning with his sixth save for the Royals victory.
Blake Wood got the win for Kansas City and is 1-0, while Burnett took the loss and fell to 0-1. The Twins fell to 9-16 overall, while Kansas City is now back to 13-13. Brian Duensing will be pitching for Minnesota tonight opposite Sean O`Sullivan of the Royals.