MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rookie Jake Cave hit his first career grand slam and closer Fernando Rodney survived a chaotic ninth inning as the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Sunday.
Rodney gave up Whit Merrifield’s fourth hit of the game leading off the ninth, but catcher Mitch Garver threw him out trying to steal second. Rodney then allowed two more base runners, but with the tying run 90 feet away he retired Rosell Herrera on a ground ball to earn his 24th save in 30 chances.
Royals starter Danny Duffy (7-10) had allowed just two earned runs over 19 innings in three starts against the Twins this season. But the fourth time around, the Twins roughed him up for six runs in six innings, the biggest blow being Cave’s grand slam in the second inning.
Meanwhile, Twins starter Ervin Santana lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his third start since spending half of the season on the disabled list. Santana gave up three runs on seven hits and left after throwing 78 pitches.
Lefty Gabriel Moya (2-0) got the Twins out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth and earned his second career victory. He picked up career win No. 1 in Friday’s series opener.
Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a 431-foot blast into the bullpen in left-center, to put Kansas City on top 2-0.
The Twins got that back and then some in the second inning. After Miguel Sano and Logan Forsythe singled to start the inning, Ehire Adrianza drew a two-out walk, bringing up Cave, the Twins’ No. 9 hitter. Cave worked the count full before jumping on a Duffy fastball for his first career grand slam and a 4-2 Twins lead.
Minnesota doubled its cushion in the fourth on Adrianza’s RBI single and Robbie Grossman’s run-scoring double. But Kansas City strung together three singles leading off the fifth, with Alex Gordon driving in a run to cut the Twins’ lead to 6-3.
Merrifield’s two-run homer off Trevor Hildenberger pulled the Royals to within 6-5 in the seventh.
Royals: Infielder Adalberto Mondesi got a second day off to rest his right shoulder, which he strained while diving for a ball on Friday. Manager Ned Yost said that Mondesi could have played on Saturday, but he wanted to give him another day of rest.
Twins: Grossman was replaced by a pinch runner after hitting a one-out single in the seventh. He walked gingerly to the dugout and is listed day-to-day with a mild right hamstring strain.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (6-11, 5.12 ERA) takes the mound on Monday to open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in Kansas City. In his last start, Junis pitched into the sixth inning and struck out five White Sox to pick up his first victory since May 18.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (5-8, 3.47) will face the Indians for the second straight outing as the Twins open a three-game series in Cleveland on Monday. Gibson pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs while fanning six in a 6-2 loss to the Indians last Tuesday.