MINNEAPOLIS— The Royals dealt the Twins a critical blow to their postseason chances, as Ben Zobrist connected on a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth in a 3-1 win on Friday night at Target Field.
With the loss, the Twins (83-77) dropped two games back of the Astros and a game behind the Angels in the race for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The Royals (93-67) remain tied with the Blue Jays, who hold the tiebreaker for overall home-field advantage.
“It’s deflating for sure,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We know what’s happening in the other games. We have 14 hours or so to figure out how to post a win. We need a lot more help than we did headed into tonight, that’s for sure. But we still have to try to win tomorrow and hopefully have to cause the other teams to win as well.”
Twins right-hander Ervin Santana continued his impressive run, going at least seven innings for a seventh straight start, but he took the hard-luck loss after giving up a leadoff single to Alcides Escobar in the eighth on his 110th and final pitch of the night. Twins left-hander Glen Perkins, who entered with a 6.98 ERA in the second half, gave up the go-ahead RBI double to Zobrist. Mike Moustakas followed with a single to right that allowed Zobrist to score, as Torii Hunter mishandled the play for an error.
Royals right-hander Chris Young was solid in a no-decision, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. He didn’t give up a hit after a two-out single from Kurt Suzuki in the second. Relievers Louis Coleman, Ryan Madson and closer Wade Davis combined to throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings to preserve the win. It was the 16th save of the year for Davis.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Young said. “I made enough good pitches and I made some bad ones, too -- other nights those bad ones get punished. A great team win, a great environment. A fun time of year and fun to be part of it.”