Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia made the most of his brief stint back in the majors with the Minnesota Twins by getting his first big-league win.

Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez all homered to help Mejia and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 in the second game Sunday to salvage a split of a doubleheader.

Mejia (1-1) was the Twins' 26th active player for the second game and allowed three runs in seven innings, on two home runs by Salvador Perez - who also went deep in the first game.

Mejia's reward for his first win? A trip back to Triple-A Rochester.

"I'm going to go down there and work on the things they told me work on," Mejia said through interpreter Carlos Font. "Then it will be up to them to see when I get back."

Grossman and Kepler each hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Brian Dozier had an RBI double in the second off Ian Kennedy (0-4) in his first game back from the disabled list.

Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City's four home runs in the opener of the doubleheader, and Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win earlier in the day.

With the split, the Twins are now 7-1 on the year against the Royals. Kansas City's win in the first game snapped a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Kennedy, who returned after missing time with a hamstring strain, said he felt fine physically. He walked three batters and gave up a pair of two-run homers in just two innings Sunday.

"He was way out of whack," manager Ned Yost said. "His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off."

MINOR'S WIN

Mike Minor's road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.

Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the first game Sunday. He relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popup. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.

Minor had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta.

JUNIS' FIRST START

Kansas City's Jake Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.

Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn't pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.

"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game."

ROYALS MOVES

Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon missed the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi replacing Gordon on the roster but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game. That means LHP Miguel Almonte, initially the Royals' 26th active player Sunday, remains on the 25-man roster. ... RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday's start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with shoulder discomfort. Hughes took the loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take Hughes' place on the roster.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.03 ERA) starts Monday's series opener at the New York Yankees.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Monday against Baltimore.

A's lineup: Plouffe moves up to hit second, Phegley starts behind dish

A's lineup: Plouffe moves up to hit second, Phegley starts behind dish

PROGRAMMING ALERT: A's-Twins coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

The A's look to snap out of an offensive funk in Game 3 of their series against the Twins. Bob Melvin has issued his lineup:

Oakland A's:
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
3. Ryon Healy (R) DH
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Josh Phegley (R) C
6. Adam Rosales (R) SS
7. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
8. Chad Pinder (R) 2B
9. Matt Joyce (L) RF
Kendall Graveman -- RHP

Minnesota Twins:
1. Brian Dozier (R) 2B
2. Max Kepler (L) RF
3. Miguel Sano (R) 3B
4. Joe Mauer (L) 1B
5. Kennys Vargas (S) DH
6. Jason Castro (L) C
7. Eduardo Escobar (S) SS
8. Eddie Rosario (L) LF
9. Byron Buxton (R) CF
Hector Santiago -- LHP
 

Instant Replay: Gray drops season debut, Twins hit six homers to beat A's

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AP

Instant Replay: Gray drops season debut, Twins hit six homers to beat A's

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Sonny Gray got a rude welcome back from the Minnesota Twins, but they didn’t stop with him.

In his first start of the season since returning from injury, Gray was tagged for three home runs in a six-batter span as the A’s lost 9-1 Tuesday at Target Field.

The Twins later went deep three more times, all in the seventh inning, off Cesar Valdez. Six homers in one game, an astonishing display from a team that entered the night with just eight homers all season at Target Field.

The hope was that Gray’s return and center fielder Rajai Davis’ return from the disabled list would spark the A’s. It didn’t happen Tuesday, as Oakland fell to 1-6 on this road trip.

Gray, who missed the first four weeks with a strained lat muscle in his right side, looked sharp over the first two innings. His curve had bite and his location was spot-on as he allowed just a walk over his first two frames. But in the third, Brian Dozier hit a hanging curve over the wall in left, the first of Dozier’s two homers on the night. After Gray walked Max Kepler, Miguel Sano jumped on a first-pitch fastball and crushed it 444 feet to straightaway center for a two-run shot.

In the fourth, Gray piped an 89 mile-per-hour fastball to Jason Castro that went for a solo shot to center and a 4-0 Minnesota lead.

Meanwhile, the A’s couldn’t solve a familiar nemesis, as Twins right-hander Ervin Santana (5-0) held them to three hits over six innings. He improved to 17-7 for his career against the A’s.

Starting pitching report

Gray gave up only five hits over his six innings, the problem was three of them went over the fence. He was charged with four runs, walked two and struck out four over 88 pitches (56 strikes). If there was a bright side in his 2017 debut, Gray did get through six innings on what was expected to be a 90- pitch limit. And all of his damage was relegated to a six-batter span between the third and the fourth.

Bullpen report

The A’s middle relief is not showing the ability to keep the team close after it falls behind. On Sunday, Frankie Montas gave up three runs in the eighth to Houston as a 4-1 deficit became 7-1. On Tuesday, Valdez got shelled in the seventh, as Dozier, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer all homered to turn a 4-0 game into 8-0. Entering Tuesday, the Twins’ 20 homers were the third-fewest in the majors.

At the plate

After the A’s struck out 221 times in April, an Oakland record for the month, they whiffed 11 more times Tuesday and mustered just six hits total. Davis returned to center field and the leadoff spot, but went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He went after the first pitch in two of his at-bats and popped up and flied out in those two plate appearances. Yonder Alonso’s home run to lead off the ninth helped the A’s avoid a shutout.

In the field

Neither team committed an error.

Attendance

Reported attendance was 18,930. 

Up next

Kendall Graveman (2-1, 2.25) and lefty Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.43) square off in Wednesday’s 5:10 p.m. game.