Twins come up short in back-and-forth against Royals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Lorenzo Cain hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning after a checked-swing call went his way on a close two-strike pitch, leading the Kansas City Royals over the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Sunday.

Kansas City trailed 4-3 and had two on with two outs when Cain fouled off his first four pitches from rookie reliever Alan Busenitz (1-1). Cain took a fastball up, then checked his swing on an outside curveball in the dirt.

First base umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled no swing and plate umpire Marty Foster ejected Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, who was still in the dugout. Molitor then came out to argue.

Cain fouled off another pitch, then drove a fastball over Bryan Buxton and off the center-field wall. Cain ran through third base coach Mike Jirschele's hold sign and tried for an inside-the-park home run, but was thrown out at the plate, with right fielder Max Kepler tossing to second baseman Brian Dozier for the relay to catcher Chris Gimenez.

Scott Alexander (4-3) pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Ian Kennedy.

Alex Gordon, a four-time Gold Glove winner, allowed Eduardo Escobar's fly to the left-field warning track leading off the ninth to deflect off his glove for an error that allowed Escobar to reach second. Brandon Maurer struck out Gimenez, then retired Ehire Adrianza on a flyout and Dozier on a popup for his 21st save in 25 chances.

Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who rebounded from a 17-0 loss Saturday.

Minnesota, which began the day 1 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels, lost for the second time in seven games. Kansas City closed within 3 games of the Twins.

Kennedy allowed four runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Twins starter Ervin Santana gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Santana led 4-3 and retired his first two batters in the seventh before walking Alcides Escobar. Busenitz relieved and walked Whit Merrifield in an eight-pitch at-bat.

Eduardo Escobar hit his third homer in two days.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Manager Ned Yost said LHP Danny Duffy (left elbow impingement) threw from 60 feet on Saturday. There's still no timetable on Duffy's return, and Yost said it's possible RHP Sam Gaviglio would start on Thursday in Duffy's turn.

Twins: C Jason Castro was activated from the concussion DL. He had been out since Aug. 24 after taking multiple foul tips off his mask. . . . Molitor said 3B Miguel Sano (stress reaction in his left shin) is feeling better but won't make the upcoming trip.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (6-2, 4.41 ERA) starts the opening game Monday in Detroit. Junis beat Tampa Bay in his last outing, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight. The Tigers will start RHP Artie Lewicki, who will be making his major league debut.

Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (12-6, 3.80) starts Monday at Tampa Bay. He pitched seven scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox in his last outing.