Royals see strong beginning end in loss
DeJesus' RBI sac fly is sole run; Davies has shaky night
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals were officially eliminated from postseason contention on a night that started with promise and then quickly deteriorated.Kansas City's bats went silent after early success against Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey as the Royals fell, 7-1, on Wednesday in front of 20,421 at the Metrodome. Things looked promising after the club led off the game with consecutive singles by Mike Aviles and Alberto Callaspo, but the Royals managed only one run in the frame, via a David DeJesus sacrifice fly. Slowey would surrender only two more hits and no additional runs while going seven innings. The offensive news outside of the first inning for Kansas City was that Mark Teahen managed to coax a walk in the seventh inning from the impeccably-controlled Slowey. Minnesota's right-hander has surrendered only 19 walks in 146 1/3 innings this year. "Sometimes you want to be aggressive because you are already going to be 0-1," DeJesus said. "You have to find a happy medium and it's tough when a guy is throwing strikes all day." Royals starter Kyle Davies once again suffered from an elevated pitch count. He allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Davies needed 105 pitches before getting pulled. "That's always going to be a concern for me," Davies said. "I've had the problem now for the last 10 starts, but we're working on it." Davies gave up three earned runs in the first three innings, but recovered to reach the sixth frame. He wasn't hit hard; the Twins only mustered one extra-base hit, a Jason Kubel double. But Minnesota managed to piece together rallies with well-placed singles. "They found their holes," Davies said. "I didn't pitch very well the first three innings, [I] didn't have very good location, but the fourth, fifth and sixth inning, I pitched as good as I've pitched all year. The sixth inning, they found two holes. The ball wasn't hit hard. That's the way it goes. I did a whole lot better job in the second half, getting ahead and pitching strikes." "They had some fortunate swings and some well-placed balls," manager Trey Hillman said. "Kyle kept us in the ballgame -- actually, the middle innings he commanded the ball fairly well. After getting his pitch count up there fairly quick, he did a good job of pitching us as deep as he did." The success of the Royals bullpen, which had surrendered no runs over the last 9 1/3 innings, came to an end quickly. Leo Nunez relieved Davies in the sixth and got out of the inning, but allowed three earned runs in the seventh, without securing an out, before getting the hook. Nunez gave up a leadoff single to Carlos Gomez and then walked Denard Span. Alexi Casilla next bunted, which pulled Nunez off the mound. The pitcher threw to first, but in his haste to get the speedy second baseman out, his throw sailed into the bullpen area, allowing both runners to score and Casilla to wind up on third. "We just have to do a better job of setting our feet, and making the play in the situation," Hillman said. DeJesus said it was frustrating that the Twins accumulated seven runs with the aid of only one extra-base hit. "It's one of those things that they've been doing to us over the years," DeJesus said. "What can you do, really, at that point?" Slowey improved to 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three starts against the Royals this year. "He's a smart pitcher, a Twins pitcher, [he] moves the ball in and out, mixes in the curveball and changeup," DeJesus said. The Royals won't get long to lament the defeat. The teams will hook up again at 12:10 p.m. CT on Thursday. One team will be in the middle of a pennant race that finds it a game out of the American League Central Division lead, and the other will use the game and the rest of the season to evaluate options for a future that it hopes is more promising.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.