Twins going for series win against Royals

MLB

Right-hander Matt Wisler will make his first start of the season Monday night as the Minnesota Twins try to go for a series win against the Kansas City Royals in Minneapolis.

Wisler (0-1, 1.80 ERA) took the loss in relief against the host Royals on Aug. 7, giving up what proved to be a game-winning solo home run to Ryan McBroom in the sixth inning of a 3-2 loss. That was the only hit he allowed in 1 2/3 innings.

It will be the second start and fourth career appearance against Kansas City for Wisler, who has made six relief appearances for the Twins this season. He is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his career against the Royals and received a no decision in his only start in 2016 while as a member of the Atlanta Braves, when he allowed two runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings while striking out seven.

Kansas City, which is 4-2 against the Twins this season, will counter with 22-year-old left-hander Kris Bubic (0-2, 5.40) who will be making his fourth major league start and first appearance against Minnesota. Bubic received a no decision in his last start on Tuesday, a 6-5 loss at Cincinnati, where he allowed five runs, including home runs to Matt Davidson and Jesse Winker, on seven hits over five innings.

The Twins have won two of the first three games of the series, all of which have ended with 4-2 scores, most recently Sunday afternoon’s contest. Max Kepler hit what proved to be a game-winning two-run homer in the fifth inning, Randy Dobnak picked up his fourth win in five starts, and Eddie Rosario made a highlight-reel diving catch to lead Minnesota.

Sergio Romo struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his third save and punctuated a game-ending strikeout of Jorge Soler with a hand gesture to the Royals dugout as in “keep talking.”

Royals coach Vance Wilson appeared agitated afterward while several players, including Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez, motioned to the Twins on the field as they celebrated. Now the question is whether anything will carry over to Monday night’s contest.

“Yeah, a little taunting going on,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “What I think we’re seeing, I think, is the result of hearing everything each bench says. You can’t take emotions out of this game. A little taunting to our side and the boys didn’t like it a whole lot.”

“You know, without fans here, you can hear a lot of stuff, and I think (Romo) may have heard something that wasn’t portrayed as that,” Lopez said. “We were hyping up our team. It’s the ninth inning. We’re trying to rally. That was a strike call or a ball call that was a little down, and we said it was down. He might have thought we were talking at him, or something like that.”

Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, like Matheny, said the lack of fans in the stands may have contributed to the bad feelings.

“I’m not sure what they were upset about,” Baldelli said. “It did seem they were upset about something. All that being said, with baseball and no fans in the stands … anything that is said on the field, on either side, you generally hear it pretty clearly. Probably could create a few more issues than normal.

“I didn’t see anything on our end that I would be concerned about one bit,” added Baldelli. “I think we’re fine to leave it at that, and if they have any kind of issue, they’re always fine to address it.”

–Field Level Media

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