MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals' offense demonstrated a tendency to fizzle out late in games this season, but it kept applying pressure and made the Twins pay for late-inning mistakes. As it turned out, the Royals needed nearly every one of those late runs to avoid a series sweep.
Five runs in the final three innings were crucial for the Royals in a 8-6 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday in front of an announced 38,886 at Target Field, the third consecutive sellout and the largest three-game total since the Twins hosted the Chicago Cubs on June 19-21, 2015.
The Royals led by as many as five, 8-3, in the eighth inning, but they needed clutch late inning exploits of relievers Wily Peralta in the eighth and closer Ian Kennedy in the ninth to secure the win.
The Royals (23-48) continue their road trip with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night in Seattle. Royals manager Ned Yost announced prior to the game that third baseman Hunter Dozier would not make the trip with the team. Instead he'll go on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Royals catcher Martin Maldonado went 3-for-4 and registered his second three-hit game of the season. He also drove in a pair of runs and scored a pair. Jorge Bonifacio collected two hits and two RBIs, while Billy Hamilton also drove in two runs.
The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning without the help of an extra-base hit. Jorge Soler drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, Cheslor Cuthbert singled and Bonifacio followed with a single to drive in his first run in the big leagues this season.
Maldonado and Whit Merrifield each hit singles on the ground that trickled between defenders and drove in a run apiece to round out the second inning scoring. The Royals collected four hits and a walk in the three-run inning.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the fourth when the Twins scored two. Miguel Sano started it with a leadoff solo home run on a towering smash that banged a little shy of halfway up the ivy batter's eye behind the center field wall.
The homer was the seventh of the season for Sano and the 15th allowed this season by Royals starting pitcher Jakob Junis. The next two Twins hitters reached base via a hit by pitch and a single, which prompted stirring in the Royals' bullpen. With two outs, Max Kepler's RBI single to center field pulled the Twins within a run, 3-2.
Yost called upon reliever Scott Barlow with two outs and a pair of runners in scoring position. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Barlow struck out designated hitter Nelson Cruz swinging to end the inning.