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Santana shines in debut, but bullpen blips cost Twins win

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Pitcher Ervin Santana didn't disappoint in his Twins debut Sunday afternoon. But a shaky bullpen cost Minnesota the game against the Royals, who scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory.

Santana rejoined the team Saturday after finishing an 80-game suspension for testing positive for steroids.

Santana lasted eight innings, giving up three hits and striking out eight, reports.

Miguel Sano got the first Twins run on the board, hitting an RBI double in the second to drive in Trevor Plouffe.

Aaron Hicks got his second homer of the season in the third inning.

The teams went into the ninth inning with a 2-2 tie. Twins manager Paul Molitor opted to relieve Santana instead of having him try to go the distance.

But reliever Blaine Boyer came in and gave up a walk to Lorenzo Cain. He was pulled for Aaron Thompson, who gave up a double to Eric Hosmer that brought Cain home and gave the Royals the win, the Associated Press reports.

The Pioneer Press notes it was Thompson's fourth time pitching in five days. Boyer was pitching his third consecutive game.

The Twins and Royals split the four-game series 2-2. The Royals still lead the AL Central Division by 4 1/2 games over the Twins, who are 43-39 on the season.

The Twins head into a weeklong homestand, beginning with a three-game series against the Orioles starting Monday. Game starts at 7:10 p.m. Phil Hughes will start for the Twins, and Miguel Sano will make his Target Field debut.

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