Making his second one of the season, Dobber cruised through the first four innings of play on only 43 pitches, 27 of which went for strikes. Even though he still allowed a ton of hard-hit balls, only two of those actually became hits. Besides, the balls that weren’t hit hard were hit for really weak contact, as he averaged 87.8 exit velocity through four.
It’s not like the offense was completely unproductive against Kris Bubic during that span, as three runners reached in the first, for instance. But the lefty did stabilize and had a positive stretch in which he retired seven out of eight consecutive batters. It was only in the fourth, when Mitch Garver hit this monster, 424-feet second-decker, that the game had its first run.
Royals take the lead in the fifth, blow the game wide open in the seventh
With only seven pitches, Dobnak retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth inning. Everything seemed fine, but, then, disaster struck. He gave up a walk to Hunter Dozier, before allowing three consecutive hits. The Royals scored three runs on a double from Michael Taylor and back-to-back singles from Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana. The first Royal run came after a very aggressive send from the Royals’ third base coach, Vance Wilson. Garver couldn’t hold on to that pitch to the plate.
With only 68 pitches, Dobnak was brought back to pitch the sixth and did a nice job again, appearing to be right back on track. He did give up a double to Adalberto Mondesí, but it was a quick, 12-pitch inning. Dobber was on his way to a quality start and more. But that was the closest he ever got.
After yet another frustrating 1-2-3 inning from the offense against Bubic in the sixth, Dobber was back at it in the top of the seventh. But not for long, as he gave up three consecutive singles right away, to load the bases with no outs, which was enough for Rocco Baldelli to pull him. Cody Stashak came in and couldn’t take care of the inherited runners, as all of them scored on a double and a sac-fly. Giving up a walk and back-to-back singles of his own, Stashak allowed Kansas City to add two more runs, making it a five-run seventh inning, 8-1 Royals.
The Twins nearly started a rally when Bubic was finally gone. Tyler Zuber came in in relief and gave up three consecutive one-out walks to load the bases. He was immediately removed from the game and Kyle Zimmer took over, facing pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach. He hit a flyball over Dozier’s head to drive in a run and keep the bases loaded for Josh Donaldson. Jorge Polanco scored from third during Donaldson’s at-bat, after a Zimmer wild pitch. So, the Twins were one hit away from cutting the Royal lead to only two. But that didn’t happen and they settled for two runs.
Polanco reached for the third time of the night when he hit a leadoff double in the ninth. Larnach kept the rally going by drawing a two-out walk, with Donaldson on-deck. But the third baseman's struggles continued, as he struck out, to finish the night with 0-for-5 and two punch outs. Counting tonight, Donaldson has a .337 OPS in his last seven games.
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