Saturday, April 5, 2008

Royals Blow Another Lead in Minnesota

I went to the Metrodome today, hoping to see the Royals rebound from last night's 4-3 setback to the Twins. But for the second-straight game, a solid early start for the Royals was spoiled by a Minnesota comeback, and the Twins clinched the series with a 6-4 victory.

Justin Morneau's towering three-run home run to right center in the bottom of the fourth inning erased a 2-0 Kansas City lead, and turned what was looking like a solid effort from Gil Meche (0-1) into a Royal mess.

Meche didn't allow a ball to leave the infield through the first three innings, but Twins second baseman Matt Tolbert led off the bottom of the fourth with a single up the middle, and then catcher Joe Mauer coaxed a walk before Morneau absolutely crushed his first homer of the season for a 3-2 lead.

Minnesota added three more runs against Meche in the bottom of the sixth. Tolbert reached on an infield single, and Mauer laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Tolbert to second.

Instead of trying to set up a double play by intentionally walking Morneau, who had doubled last night and hit the three-run blast in his previous at bat, the Royals chose to pitch to him, and he ripped an RBI double into the gap in right. Jason Kubel followed with an RBI single to right, and DH Craig Monroe finished the Twins' scoring with an RBI double for a 6-2 lead.

Kansas City tried to rally in the top of the seventh, with right fielder Jose Guillen and third baseman Alex Gordon each singling and then scoring on a double to right-center by catcher Miguel Olivo to cut the lead to 6-4.

The Royals then had two men on base in the eighth, too, but designated hitter Billy Butler grounded to shortstop to end the threat. Gordon and first baseman Ross Gload each finished with two hits for Kansas City.

The teams will wrap up the three-game series Sunday at 1:10 p.m., with right-hander Brett Tomko making his first start for the Royals. The Twins will counter with righty Boof Bonser (0-1).

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