MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Josh Willingham lost a fly ball in the twilight. Two baserunners were thrown out trying to steal. They had 11 hits and managed only one run.
It was that kind of night for the Minnesota Twins.
Ben Revere had three hits, but Minnesota left 10 runners on base in a 9-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
Eric Hosmer homered and Will Smith pitched seven shutout innings as Kansas City beat Minnesota for just the sixth time in 16 games. Lorenzo Cain had two RBIs.
Salvador Perez extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games and threw out two runners trying to steal in support of Smith (5-7), who struck out a career-high seven and gave up seven hits in his first win in four starts.
With two outs and two runners on in the second inning, Cain hit a towering fly to left field. Willingham lost it in the sky, holding out his hands as the ball fell 15 feet behind him and both runners scored.
Outfielders losing fly balls was a common occurrence under the white Teflon roof of the Metrodome, but hasn't been a problem under the lights at Target Field.
``It was just the time of day. It's frustrating when you can't see the ball,' Willingham said. ``You can't catch it if you can't see it. Can't see it, it's pretty helpless.'
Willingham's teammates tried to help him out, pointing in the direction of the ball. To no avail.
``We have seen that in the Metrodome way too many times, and we're glad that we don't see it too many times here,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
It wasn't the only flub by the Twins on a warm late-summer night. They also hit into two double plays and were held to one run despite getting runners on base in every inning.
Minnesota had won three in a row.
Cain got hit in the head by reliever Luis Perdomo in the eighth.
The ball appeared to hit Cain in the back of his helmet as he ducked, but he sat up quickly and remained in the game after getting checked out by trainers.
The Twins finally broke through in the eighth on Ryan Doumit's two-out RBI single to center.
Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond (11-7) allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings and has just one victory in his last six starts.
Diamond recently came off a six-game suspension for throwing behind Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton, and since his return the Twins have gone from a five-man to a six-man pitching rotation.
``I just feel a little inconsistent right now,' said Diamond, who walked three and struck out two. ``My command is just a little off and it's something you have to battle with, with all the time off.'
Twins catcher Joe Mauer was scratched after he had back spasms after batting practice. It's not known if he'll be ready to play in Wednesday night's game against the Royals.
``I've never had it, so I don't know what to expect,' said Mauer, who took muscle relaxers and applied ice to the sore area.
NOTES: Twins OF Chris Parmelee missed his second straight game with a groin injury and is day to day. ... Smith won for the first time since Aug. 15. ... The Twins announced a crowd of 28,993 on Tuesday. Monday's crowd of 27,526 was the lowest in Target Field history. ... Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.35 ERA) pitches for Kansas City on Wednesday. The former No. 1 overall draft pick needs four strikeouts to match his career high of 128 set last season. ... P.J. Walters (2-3, 6.05 ERA) starts for Minnesota. Walters allowed five runs on Sept. 5 against the Chicago White Sox, his first start since coming off the disabled list.
The Associated Press News Service
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