He might look more like a fullback than a baseball player. His resume might read more “suspect” than “prospect.” But Willians Astudillo has become something of a folk hero in Minnesota, and on Sunday he rewarded Twins fans for their support.
Astudillo hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave Minnesota a 3-1 victory over the Royals.
Max Kepler doubled off Jason Hammel (2-13) with two outs in the Twins ninth. Astudillo then hit a drive deep to left field for his third home run of the season, touching off a raucous celebration at home plate.
Adalberto Mondesi homered for the Royals, who were held to three hits on the day. The closest they came to a rally was in the third inning, when an error and two walks filled the bases. But Hunter Dozier grounded out to end the threat.
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“We had the bases loaded looking for a clutch hit, and we couldn’t get it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Just not a lot going on offensively for us out there.”
Royals starter Ian Kennedy made his first appearance after missing two months with a strained oblique. He ended up throwing 93 pitches over six innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Minnesota starter Chase De Jong made his Twins debut with four scoreless innings, walking four and striking out five. He arrived from Seattle in a trade for reliever Zach Duke on July 30.
Zack Littell followed De Jong for the Twins and gave up Mondesi’s tying home run in the sixth but was otherwise sharp, allowing just two runners in 3 1/3 innings.