KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Minnesota Twins have been one of the better defensive teams in the American League.
That's not the case this year, however, as the Twins committed three errors Wednesday in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. They made five errors in losing both games at Kauffman Stadium.
``It's the same thing we've been saying every time,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``If you're going to throw the ball, you've got to catch the ball. We're not getting outs we should and we missed some chances to score. We had, I think, three errors. We could have had five. We go out and work, work, work, but we're still booting the ball.'
The Twins ranked second in the AL last year with a .987 fielding percentage and 78 errors. This season they have a .980 fielding percentage and have 110 errors. Only Oakland with 117 has more errors than the Twins in the AL.
Rookie shortstop Trevor Plouffe made two errors - one throwing and one fielding - in the Wednesday defeat to bring his total to 10 errors in 67 games.
``I work hard at it and days like this happen,' Plouffe said. ``I don't like having days like this, but it happens. And with the season we're having, it's magnified. I feel terrible. It stinks. I don't like this. I'll take early work tomorrow and I hope I can do better.'
The Twins scored 10 runs and committed seven errors on the 0-5 trip to Detroit and Kansas City.
``It's starting to get painful to watch,' Gardenhire said. ``We're working, working, working, and booting the ball around, so we don't get anything from it. We've got to get away from that.'
Mike Moustakas had three hits and drove in two runs and Luke Hochevar, who was battling the flu, pitched six solid innings to help the Royals beat the Twins.
The Royals have won four straight, matching the longest winning streak of the season, while the Twins have lost 19 of 23 and are in last place in the AL Central after winning the division the past two years. Moustakas drove in runs in the second and fourth inning with singles. He doubled and scored in the two-run sixth inning.
Hochevar (11-11) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings. He improved to 6-3 in 12 starts since the All-Star break.
Jeff Francoeur also had three hits and scored two runs. Eric Hosmer, Francoeur and Moustakas - the Royals' fourth, five and sixth hitters - went a combined 8-for-12 and scored five runs.
Salvador Perez drove in a pair of runs with a fourth inning double and a sixth inning single.
Johnny Giavotella had two RBIs without a hit. His sacrifice fly in the second scored Francoeur. In the three-run fourth, Giavotella reached on a Trevor Plouffe throwing error, allowing Francoeur to score.
Greg Holland, one of six rookies used by the Royals, got the final two outs to log his third save in five opportunities.
Liam Hendricks (0-2), who was making his second big league, was roughed up for five runs on eight hits in five innings. Hendricks was 12-6 with a 3.36 ERA in the minors before his Sept. 6 promotion. Danny Valencia, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer had the Twins' RBIs. Cuddyer had two hits and walked with the bases loaded in the seventh.
``Things are not going very well right now,' Kubel said. ``They're not working out.'
Notes: The Royal started six first-round draft picks - Hochevar, Hosmer, Moustakas, Francoeur, LF Alex Gordon and DH Billy Butler - and Giavotella, a second-round selection. All but Francoeur, who was a 2002 first-round choice of the Braves, were drafted by the Royals. ... Joe Mauer was behind the plate for the Twins for only the second time since Aug. 20. ... Cuddyer and Plouffe snapped 0-for-20 skids. ...Twins CF Ben Revere stole three bases, bringing his season total to 30. ... Royals LHP Jeff Francis will make his final start of the season Thursday against the Chicago White Sox to open a four-game series. Francis has allowed 31 of his 100 runs in the first inning, when opponents are batting .358 off him. ... The Twins are off Thursday before opening a homestand Friday against Cleveland with Kevin Slowey, who is 0-5, starting.
The Associated Press News Service
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