Walters, Twins can't turn corner against KC

Walters, Twins can't turn corner against KC

Walters, Twins can't turn corner against KC
MINNEAPOLIS -- P.J. Walters looked like he rediscovered his effectiveness.

Pitching in just his second Major League game on Wednesday night since June 13, Walters -- who missed nearly three months due to shoulder inflammation -- largely cruised through the first four innings of his start against the Royals. He allowed just two hits, with Salvador Perez's solo home run standing as the only well-struck ball.

Then came the fifth inning, and Walters' apparent march forward turned into a big step backward.

Kansas City's five-run, six-hit frame not only ended Walters' night, it erased the Twins' two-run lead and vaulted the Royals to a 10-5 victory in front of 28,139 fans at Target Field.

"He just couldn't get anybody out [in the fifth]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. " ... He started getting the ball up and they broke a couple of bats -- but they're all hits, it doesn't matter. He couldn't get an out. Ball started flying all over the place. That was one bad inning."

Walters' troublesome fifth began with a leadoff walk to Eric Hosmer, who would bat again in the inning. Johnny Giavotella's ensuing single began a string of five straight hits against Walters, with David Lough, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler all following suit. Escobar and Gordon each drove in a run with their singles while Butler's drove them both in.

The right-hander threw 22 pitches in the inning without recording an out -- enough for Gardenhire to send Walters to the dugout. Reliever Anthony Swarzak immediately fared better, retiring Perez via popout on his first pitch. Swarzak also induced a popout from Mike Moustakas before letting another runner cross home on Lorenzo Cain's single. Swarzak struck out Hosmer to end the frame.

Walters was charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four-plus innings. It was his second start since being reinstated from the disabled list on Sept. 1 -- after he allowed six runs on five hits across five innings against the White Sox on Sept. 5.

Walters is 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA over nine innings in his two outings since returning from the DL, but said fatigue wasn't an issue in the sudden derailment in the fifth against KC.

"I felt fine tonight," Walters said. "It was just one inning -- went out there and walked the first batter and you get yourself in trouble, and it comes back to bite you."

The Twins didn't wait to cut into Kansas City's lead -- scoring two in the bottom of the inning on Jamey Carroll's single -- but could never put together a game-changing rally. Carroll's single extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games as he hit sixth for the first time this season and matched a career high with three RBIs.

Minnesota trailed just 6-5 entering the eighth. Then disaster struck in the form of three errors by Doumit -- including two on one play -- leading to the first of four more runs for the Royals in the inning.

Hosmer led off with a single, then Doumit missed a ball to let Giavotella reach on his first error. Two batters later, Doumit misplayed Escobar's single to left field and fired an errant throw to the infield, allowing Hosmer to score. Giavotella, Escobar and Gordon also scored runs later in the inning.

Doumit, a catcher by trade, became the first Twins player to commit three errors in a game since Pedro Munoz on July 21, 1995, at Boston, and the first to be charged with three in one inning since shortstop Danny Thompson on Sept. 3, 1973, against the Royals, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

He's also the first Major League outfielder to commit three errors in the same inning since Sept. 9, 1989, when the Tigers' Scott Lusader did it against the White Sox.

Wednesday was just Doumit's 15th game this season in left field, a position he has taken up for the Twins out of necessity.

"I feel extremely comfortable [in left field]," Doumit said. "Tonight was just one of those nights. I just took my eye off the ball. When you take your eye of the ball, bad things happen. I'm going to have days like this.

"It's part of the learning curve -- it's embarrassing. But I'm going to learn from it and go out and get 'em tomorrow."

Escobar's troublesome single came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Minnesota reliever Casey Fien.

"Escobar's at-bat was phenomenal," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "It kind of epitomized it right there for us."

Royals starter Luke Hochevar scattered the Twins' five runs on six hits and four walks over five innings and picked up the win.

Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first, which was started by Denard Span's triple in his first at-bat since returning from the DL. Josh Willingham's single later drove in Span. Span also singled and scored in the third when Doumit drew a bases-loaded walk. Carroll's sacrifice fly also scored Willingham in the third.

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.