If this is Brian Dozier’s last month with the Minnesota Twins Case Keenum Jersey , it’s off to a strong start.
Whether he is helping boost the Twins back into the division race or merely increasing his trade value, Dozier has found his form at the plate.
Dozier hit a two-run homer, going deep for the second straight game to help the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Wednesday.
”About stats, talk to me in October. If they’re not there, then we’ll talk,” Dozier said. ”I keep telling these guys, `Eight games: That’s not that much.”’
Lance Lynn (7-7) recovered from a three-run homer by Salvador Perez in the first inning to win his second straight start for the Twins, who used the bottom third of their lineup to launch rallies in the second and the fourth against Burch Smith (0-1).
Max Kepler, Jake Cave and Bobby Wilson went 6 for 11 with five runs scored. Wilson, whose batting average fell to .114 last week, had two RBIs and was one of three Twins with three hits, joining Dozier and Joe Mauer. Wilson, the backup catcher, is now hitting .169.
Dozier drove in a run with an infield single in the fourth. Then he sent his 15th homer of the season into the second deck above left field in the sixth inning against Enny Romero. Logan Morrison hit a solo shot one out later to pad the lead for Minnesota, which improved 6-1 on an 11-game homestand.
With the Twins trailing AL Central-leading Cleveland by 8 1/2 games when the day began Nick Bellore Jersey , Dozier is among several prominent players on expiring contracts whose names are part of the annual July trade market speculation. Lynn is one of those, too.
”We don’t pay attention to it, so whatever happens happens,” said Lynn, who pitched to two batters in the sixth. ”In this game I’ve learned that you go where you told, because they pay you. That’s just the way it works, unless you’ve got a no-trade clause.”
Only first baseman Joe Mauer has that.
”So everyone else can just wear it and do what they’re told,” Lynn said.
Mike Moustakas homered twice for the Royals, who took the Twins deep five times over the last two games of this series despite toting the fewest home runs in MLB. Kansas City has lost 23 of its past 27 games.
”Come in here and play hard,” Perez said. ”One of the things everybody should think: That’s how we bring food to the table for our family. That’s our job.”
Dozier’s production at the plate is lower than it has been in at least five years, but he has begun to warm up with a .375 batting average, three homers and eight RBIs over his past six games. Only four of his home runs have come at home this season. He hit 127 homers over the previous four years, with 63 of those at Target Field.
”You just ride the wave. Sometimes they find the green grass, sometimes they find the seats, sometimes you’re walking back with your head down Larry Allen Jersey ,” he said.
BURCH IS BACK
After 24 relief appearances this year, Smith made his first major league start since 2013, when he was with San Diego. Forearm and elbow injuries kept him from pitching in 2015 and 2016, and he spent last season with the Tampa Bay organization.
”It was definitely special. Today had been a long time,” said Smith, who gave up seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. ”It meant a lot just getting the opportunity to do it again. I was feeling a lot of emotions going into that game.”
Royals: RHP Jason Adam was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take the spot of a discouraged RHP Ian Kennedy, who returned to the disabled list with a strained left oblique after an injury-shortened three-inning start on Tuesday night. Adam had been sent down the day before so Kennedy, who has gone 16 turns without a victory, could be reinstated.
Twins: RHP Addison Reed was placed on the DL with tightness in his right triceps, and RHP Alan Busenitz was recalled from Triple-A Rochester for the third time this season. … INF Ehire Adrianza is on track to come off the DL on Thursday, after missing 10 games with a strained left hamstring.
Royals: Following a day off, rookie RHP Brad Keller (2-3, 2.52 ERA) pitches in the opener of a three-game series at Chicago on Friday night for his eighth start of the season. Former Kansas City RHP James Shields (3-10, 4.53 ERA) takes the mound for the White Sox.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (3-6, 3.59 ERA) starts a four-game series against Tampa Bay on Thursday night. LHP Blake Snell (12-4 Bobby Massie Jersey , 2.09 ERA) takes the mound for the Rays with the second-lowest ERA in league. Snell has won four straight starts with just two runs allowed in his past 28 2/3 innings.
CHICAGO — The Cincinnati Reds have given the Chicago Cubs fits all season. But just when Reds appeared on the verge of winning their sixth straight game against the reigning National League Central champions, the Cubs turned to a familiar ally.
The Cubs twice rallied from five runs down on Saturday to pull out an 8-7 victory. They will head into Sunday’s matinee at Wrigley Field with a chance to capture the series. Having staff ace Jon Lester on the mound certainly won’t hurt.
Lester will take his 11-2 record and 2.25 ERA into the start a day after the Cubs produced four eighth-inning runs for their dramatic win.The Cubs’ last eight wins all have come after they fell behind early.
“I love the fight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after the team’s 50th win of the season. “Both sides wanted to win (and) we got it in the end.
“We’ve been in this situation all week.”
Added Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, who homered in the seventh inning before the Cubs mounted their latest comeback: “We never quit.”
The rally stunned the Reds, who appeared in line for their sixth win in their last seven games and their 15th in the past 19. Instead, Lester will take the mound in search of his eighth straight victory.
Lester was named NL Pitcher of the Month in June and is tied for the league lead in victories. Lester, who has won seven straight starts dating to May 23, will look to keep rolling against the Reds, against whom he is 6-1 in 14 starts.
In Lester’s last start — an 11-10 victory over the Minnesota Twins — he added an extra bonus — a solo home run. But Lester, who has struggled traditionally from the plate, won’t get too wrapped up in the excitement.
“If I get hits, I get hits,” Lester told reporters after his last outing on July 1. “The home run is awesome, it’s cool, especially at home. But at the end of the day Dante Fowler Jr Jersey , I know I’m a pitcher and I’m not a hitter.”
The Cubs, who are playing without third baseman Kris Bryant — whom Maddon said will begin a minor league assignment soon — may be without right fielder Jason Heyward. He left Saturday’s loss in the third inning after fouling a ball off his groin.
The Reds enter Sunday’s series finale looking for their sixth straight series. But after Cincinnati touched up Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood for seven runs only to see Jared Hughes surrender a three-run lead, the Reds will attempt to regain their winning ways after Saturday’s shocker.
Cincinnati’s bullpen had, until Saturday, been able to protect late leads, which made Saturday’s loss so unfathomable. It marked only the third time this season the Reds lost after leading heading into the eighth inning.
“We’ve come back on a few clubs like that,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman told reporters, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Today, (the Cubs) did it to us.”
Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.53) will start Sunday for the Reds and will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing June. He finished the month 1-3 and allowed at least three earned runs in each of his five outings. Castillo is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.
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