Dozier Lifts Royals to Series Split with Twins

Hunter Dozier hit a three-run shot during a five-run third inning, Homer Bailey was stingy again pitching into the sixth and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Sunday.

Alex Gordon had two RBIs and Nicky Lopez also drove in a run, helping the Royals forge a split of the four-game series on a soggy, overcast afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Bailey (7-6) only made one significant mistake, leaving a pitch over the plate that Eddie Rosario steered inside the right-field foul pole. Otherwise, the revitalized right-hander followed back-to-back scoreless starts against Detroit and Seattle by giving up five hits and a walk against the Twins.

The Royals’ bullpen went the rest of the way, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh. Kevin McCarthy got seven outs to record his first career save.

Michael Pineda (4-4) allowed eight hits in five innings for the Twins. He didn’t get much support, watching helplessly as his offense stranded 11 runners on base.

With rain in the forecast, Bailey and Pineda engaged in a tidy pitchers’ duel through the first couple innings. But that ended abruptly when Pineda took the mound in the third.

After retiring Martin Maldonado, the big right-hander gave up a base hit to Billy Hamilton _ the first of what would become five straight. And they came in quite the variety: Whit Merrifield delivered on a hit-and-run, Lopez had a bunt single and Gordon doubled down the right-field line.

The big blow came from Dozier, though. His three-run shot soared over the visiting bullpen in left field, giving Kansas City a 5-0 lead and the youngster another boost in his All-Star bid.

Dozier is among the three AL finalists at third base in voting that begins Wednesday.

Bailey’s streak of 16 2/3 scoreless innings finally ended when Rosario cracked his 20th homer of the year leading off the fourth inning. But Bailey got a modicum of revenge in the sixth, when he struck out Rosario after a 14-pitch at-bat to conclude his afternoon.