KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Paulo Orlando entered this season as a spare outfielder with the Kansas City Royals. He’s finishing it as a productive starter.
Orlando had four hits to match his career high in the Royals’ 7-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Orlando is hitting .459 in his past 10 games to hike his average to .307.
“Paulo has really been swinging his bat,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s really focused on trying to hit .300. That’s a big goal.”
Orlando was batting when the game ended, but he never saw a pitch.
After Salvador Perez’s pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning pulled the Royals within a run, Terrance Gore ran for him. Brandon Kintzler picked Gore off first base to end the game.
Kintzler made two throws to first baseman Kennys Vargas and the second one nabbed Gore, but he never threw a pitch to Orlando.
Gore was initially called safe, but after a 1 minute, 15 second review, the call was reversed.
“The replay said I wasn’t safe, so stay with it,” Gore said. “I was just anticipating the front foot up and that’s when I went.”
Gore is used almost strictly as a pinch-runner and has 11 steals in 12 attempts this season.
“He got caught leaning,” Yost said.
Bryon Buxton’s one-out double triggered a three-run ninth off Kelvin Herrera (2-6). Robbie Grossman, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler contributed run-scoring singles in the inning.
“Kelvin takes the ball, no matter how he feels,” Yost said. “He’s worn down from the extra work.”
The Twins won for the first time in 10 games this season at Kauffman Stadium.
Michael Tonkin (3-2) was the winner, while Kintzler logged his 16th save in 19 opportunities despite giving up two runs, three hits and a walk.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was pulled with one out in the seventh, allowing four runs and eight hits, including a solo homer to Vargas in the sixth.
“You think we’ve really got to go deep with Danny, as far as we can go and a 25-pitch first inning and I’m like, ‘Oh, man, that’s not good for business right there,'” Yost said. “But, then, he went out and had a very economical second inning, got to within three over par and then got back to exact par in the third inning, so I felt pretty good about it.”
The Twins’ three-run seventh included a two-run triple by Buxton, who scored on Jorge Polanco’s single.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson failed to hold the two-run lead through the bottom of the inning. Jarrod Dyson tripled home Drew Butera and scored on Whit Merrifield’s single to tie the score.
Orlando had two doubles, while Butera had three hits, equaling his career best, including a single to lead off the ninth.
Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning.
“He got sick,” Yost said. “He was running a little bit of a fever and was down in energy.”
ONE MORE VICTORY
The Royals need one victory in their final three games to have a winning record for the fourth consecutive year. The last time the Royals accomplished that was 1975-1980, six straight winning seasons.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer, who is hitless in his past 15 at-bats, missed the three games against the Royals with a quad injury.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen, who is on the 60-day DL with rotator cuff inflammation, said he is shut down until November when he will begin a throwing program. “Beyond frustrating,” Medlen described his season. He was 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA in six starts.
Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey has allowed 198 base runners (161 hits), 31 walks and six hit batters in 131 innings. He will make his final start Friday at the White Sox, who will counter with LHP Carlos Rodon.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura is 0-1 with 5.40 ERA in two starts this season against the Indians. Cleveland LHP Ryan Merritt will make his first big league start.