(AP) — Kansas City’s best start in 22 years has become an afterthought.
Sean Bergman, backed by four home runs and six doubles, won his first game for Minnesota as the Twins beat the slumping Royals 9-7 to send Kansas City to its sixth straight loss.
“We need to improve everywhere,” the Royals’ Johnny Damon said. “We weren’t catching balls. We need to pitch better, need to hit better. That about covers everything.”
Kansas City came to Minnesota after getting swept by the New York Yankees and is 0-6 on this trip following an 8-3 start, its best since 1978. The Royals have not led at the end of any inning during the slide.
After the game, they had a closed-door meeting, which they refused to talk about. Loser Jose Rosado (1-2) wouldn’t talk about the game, either.
Denny Hocking, Jason Maxwell, Matt Lawton and Butch Huskey homered for the Twins, who also swept a three-game series from the Royals at the Metrodome last Aug. 27-29.
“They played great behind me,” Bergman said. “We don’t quit; we’re going to keep going at them.”
Fourteen of Minnesota’s 16 home runs this year have come off the Royals, who conclude their trip at Seattle this weekend.
“I think it’s our pitching in general,” Royals manager Tony Muser said. “Bad overall pitching.”
Kansas City pitchers have walked 30 during the team’s slide and wasted three save chances.
Bergman (1-0) allowed four runs — three earned — and seven hits in five-plus innings to get his first AL win since 1995 with Detroit. Bob Wells pitched 2 2-3 innings for his second save.
With the score 3-all in the fifth, Minnesota went ahead when Rosado walked Hocking and Lawton, Ron Coomer hit a two-run double and Matt LeCroy added a sacrifice fly off Chris Fussell.
Jermaine Dye’s sixth homer pulled the Royals to 6-4 in the sixth, but Maxwell and Lawton hit solo homers in the bottom half.
“Obviously the ball was flying,” Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. “The pitchers are really going to have to start pitching some ball games.”
Damon and Carlos Beltran hit RBI singles off LaTroy Hawkins in the seventh, when Wells escaped a bases-loaded, two-outs jam on Joe Randa’s foul-out.
Huskey, who was 3-for-4, homered off Fussell leading off the seventh for a 9-6 lead.
“That’s a carryover from last night,” said Huskey, who had the game-winning single in the ninth inning Wednesday. “Good things are going to happen.”
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI doubles by David Ortiz and Maxwell, but Kansas City went ahead 3-2 in the third on two-out RBI single by Carlos Febles — who extended his hitting streak to an AL-high 14 games — and Beltran.
“I think we outlasted them today,” Hocking said.