KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With their major league-worst 102nd loss, Twins matched their most since moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season.
Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon keyed an eighth-inning rally and the Kansas City Royals beat the Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night. Still, the defending World Series champions were eliminated from postseason contention with Baltimore’s win at Toronto.
Minnesota lost for the 10th time in 11 games and matched the 1982 Twins for the team’s most losses since the move. With two more defeats, the club would have its most since the 1949 Washington Senators finished 50-104.
“We’re trying to win games, but it’s becoming difficult,” Twins right-hander Ervin Santana said. “We forgot about the little things. It’s a game. You just have to prepare to be better for the next year.”
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer off Santana in the third, but the Twins tied it in the sixth when Kennys Vargas homered with Miguel Sano aboard.
The Vargas homer snapped a Twins’ streak of 106 innings without multiple runs, then longest since the Philadelphia Phillies went 109 innings in 1942, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We just kind of stagnated from there,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Santana finished with a 3.375 ERA, the second-best of his career, but won only seven games.
“His innings are up, ERA was down,” Molitor said. “He gave us a chance more times than not. He competed and he tried to hang in there on a team that has lost a lot of games and continued to go out there and try to be professional about it. He can stand tall. There are no shortcomings there, an ERA in the 3.3’s.
“It’s just unfortunate, and we talked about it before, we gave some games away that he pitched, maybe not playing good enough defense or backing him up offensively. But if I was Ervin Santana I would feel good about what I contributed and trying to give his best from day one all the way through to his last start.”
Kendrys Morales’ ground-rule double to right scored Jarrod Dyson, who had doubled and stole third. Gordon’s single scored Whit Merrifield and pinch-runner Billy Burns.
Taylor Rogers (3-1), the fourth of five Twins pitchers, took the loss after allowing three runs, three hits and two walks while retiring only one of the six batters.
Joakim Soria (5-8) worked a scoreless eighth, and Wade Davis got his 27th save in 30 chances.
Royals left-hander Jason Vargas allowed four hits in five shutout innings, leaving with a 2-0 lead in his third start since Tommy John surgery in 2015. Vargas finished with a 2.25 ERA, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out 11 and walking three in 12 innings.
Kansas City did not get another hit after Hosmer’s third inning homer until Dyson’s one-out double in the eighth.
0 for KC
Minnesota dropped to 0-9 at Kauffman Stadium, their first winless season at Kansas City.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer (hamstring injury) did not play.
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain, who has appeared in one game in September because of left wrist inflammation, will not play again this season. “There is no need to push him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson, who went to the University of Missouri, will make his 11th career start against the Royals on Thursday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three outings against the Twins this season.