Twins second baseman Brian Dozier

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Slip, sliding away

Twins drop second straight to Royals

July 22, 2018 - 5:48 am

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Joe Mauer led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Eddie Rosario.

 And the Twins did little after that.

 Lance Lynn struggled and Kansas City made him pay in the Royals' 4-2 win Saturday night in Kansas City.

 The second straight loss to the team with one of the worst records in baseball dropped the Twins 9 1/2 games behind first place Cleveland in the AL Central.

  Salvador Perez homered, reliever Brian Flynn picked up the win for the Royals with three scoreless innings.

   The Royals won back-to-back games for the first time since May 29-30. They are now 29-68, just ahead of Baltimore's MLB-worst mark, with five of those wins coming at the expense of the Twins.

   Since stopping a ten-game losing streak on July 10, Kansas City is 4-3, beating the Twins three times.

   Perez belted his 14th homer to right field with Mike Moustakas aboard in the first. Perez hit a 2-2 pitch from Lynn, only his third opposite-field homer this season. Perez has driven in four in two games since the All-Star break.

   Lynn (7-8) walked Alcides Escobar, Moustakas and Perez in the third to load the bases for Lucas Duda, who laced a run-producing single to left.

   Mauer's lead-off double was the 415th of his career, breaking a tie with Kirby Puckett to move into first place on the Twins' all-time list. 

   After Mauer scored on Rosario's 62nd RBI, the Twins managed just five hits, all singles.

   Their second run came in on Eduardo Escobar's 8th-inning hit.

   Jakob Junis, who was making his first start in 19 days after a stint on the disabled list with a bad back, held the Twins to one run and four hits while striking out six over four innings. He had lost his seven previous starts, one shy of the club record.

   Flynn (2-1) replaced Junis and limited the Twins to one hit while striking out four.

   The Twins narrowed the lead with a run in the eighth off Jason Adam. Jorge Polanco singled home Brian Dozier, who opened the inning with a hit and advanced to second on Adam's balk. Tim Hill relieved Adam and induced Max Kepler to roll into an inning-ending double play.

   Wily Peralta then worked a spotless ninth for his third save in three chances.

   Whit Merrifield singled home Gordon in the eighth for the final Kansas City run.

    The Twins reinstated first baseman Logan Morrison from the disabled list late Saturday, sending Willians Astudillo back to Triple-A Rochester.

    Twins pitcher Ervin Santana (surgery, right middle finger) had his velocity top out at 90 mph and was working in the upper 80s in his Friday rehab start with Triple-A Rochester.  "A lot of emphasis is made about velocity, probably too much so," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The command was the highlight, the strike-throwing, getting the ball where he wanted."

    Santana will throw a bullpen session Sunday with Rochester and a decision will be made on whether to give him another minor league start or have him start Wednesday in Toronto. ... All signs point to 1B Logan Morrison (hip impingement) coming off the disabled list Sunday.

The Twins try to salvage the final game of the three-game series with Jake Odorizzi on the mound.  Ororizzi is 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in six career starts against the Royals.

   Royals righthander Brad Keller, a Rule 5 pick from Arizona, makes his ninth start.