"I'm very frustrated," manager Paul Molitor said. "I can't tell you. To come in here and have to endure these four games. Some of these situations and environment where guys need to step up, our mental toughness needs to improve. Hopefully we do that as we get more experience from our younger core. That's what it takes to win on the road against a team that's playing well."
It gave the Royals a season-high eighth straight win, but they're still on the fringes of the postseason race at 64-60. But when they have played the Twins this year, the Royals look just like the team that won the 2015 World Series.
"It's terrible," second baseman Brian Dozier said. "We're playing good, but it seems like these past four games, we always make that one mistake you can't make against a good team like the Royals."
On Sunday, the issues mostly came with runners in scoring position, as the Twins went 2-for-9 in those situations, including loading the bases with none out in the second, only to come up empty-handed. The lack of offense against Royals lefty Danny Duffy gave right-hander Ervin Santana a tough-luck loss, as he gave up two runs over seven innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts.
"We've fallen short of taking advantage of opportunities," Molitor said. "We had another situation with a runner at third and nobody out, and we can't get him in. When you have your best pitcher going, those things can be huge."
Another mistake came in the sixth, when Jorge Polanco couldn't handle a grounder from Lorenzo Cain with two out. The play wasn't ruled an error, although Molitor felt it should've been one, and it came back to bite them, as Eric Hosmer doubled on the next pitch to bring home the go-ahead run.
"It turns out the winning run comes on a play we need to make," Molitor said.
It spoiled another strong start for Santana, who has been pitching like an ace with a 1.91 ERA over his last 11 starts. He did what he could do to try to stop the streaking Royals, but it wasn't enough.
"They're really hot right now," Santana said. "Everything is going their way. They just wait for any chance so they can try to do damage."