Devin Smeltzer pitched six shutout innings and the bullpen tosses scoreless three frames as the Twins blanked the Royals 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
Smeltzer, the left-handed rookie acquired in a trade with the Dodgers involving Brian Dozier last year, made a spot start on short notice in order for the Twins to adjust the rotation after Michael Pineda was placed on the 10-day injured list.
He allowed just two hits and struck out four while Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers each fired a scoreless, hitless inning of relief.
Minnesota's bats have scored 100 runs in the last 14 games but was held in check Sunday. The big hit came from Jason Castro, who hit a solo homer in the seventh. Eddie Rosario drove in two runs, one with an RBI single in the sixth and another on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The Twins are now 69-42 and remain three games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central. Cleveland swept the Angels to improve to 66-45.
Minnesota now plays a very difficult stretch of games against the Braves, Indians and Brewers.
- Monday-Wednesday: vs. Braves
- Thursday-Sunday: vs. Indians
- Tuesday-Wednesday: at Brewers