KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Daniel Lynch allowed four hits while pitching into the sixth inning, the stingy Kansas City bullpen shut out Minnesota the rest of the way, and the Royals beat the Twins 2-0 on a dreary Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Lynch (1-1) bounced back from a dismal season debut against St. Louis, when he served up three homers to Kansas City’s cross-state rival, to win a pitchers’ duel against Chris Paddack (0-2) and the equally stout Minnesota bullpen.
Lynch never allowed a runner to reach third, getting plenty of help along the way from one of two big league defenses – the Padres have the other – that have yet to commit an error this season. Collin Snider, Jake Brentz and Josh Staumont got the lead to Scott Barlow, who worked around a single in the ninth for his first save of the season.
The Royals bullpen has not allowed a run in its last 17 1/3 innings.
The Twins have lost four of their last five on a trip through Boston and Kansas City.
The Royals scored in the first inning when Bobby Witt Jr. grounded into a double play and Whit Merrifield scampered home from third, but nobody else crossed the plate until Kansas City strung together three singles in the fifth.
The last of them, a bunt by Adalberto Mondesi, got through the right side of a drawn-in infield to bring in a run.
Paddack escaped further damage by striking out Cam Gallagher and getting Merrifield to pop into foul territory. He was replaced for the sixth after allowing the game’s only two runs on five hits without a walk while striking out four.
Lynch gave up a leadoff single in the sixth before he was done. Along with four hits, he walked one and struck out two.
While the young left-hander was excellent, the Kansas City bullpen may have been better. It added four more innings to its impressive scoreless streak, and helped the Royals even their record at 5-5 in yet another close game.
Eight of their first 10 this season have been decided by two runs or fewer.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (right knee) did some fielding work away from Kauffman Stadium early Wednesday so he could avoid the slippery natural grass surface. He has so far avoided the injury list. “If we can give someone a day or two or three to see if Buxton is going to come back, we’re going to do that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Royals: C Salvador Perez got another day off from the field after treatment to drain fluid from his eye. He hit two homers as the DH on Tuesday night and had a single Wednesday. “He knows how he feels,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
Twins RHP Joe Ryan (1-0, 2.70 ERA) tries to build on a dynamic debut against Boston, when he allowed one run on five hits over six innings, when he takes the mound for the series finale Thursday. Royals RHP Zack Greinke (0-0, 2.45) tries again for his first win since returning to the club that drafted him two decades ago.