Royals lose 6-2 to Twins in game called by weather; Saturday’s game to start at 1:15

The rain held off plenty long enough for the Royals to honor retiring manager Ned Yost in a pregame ceremony, but it didn’t quite stay away a sufficient amount of time for the Royals and Twins to play nine innings.

Following a 40-minute delay in the middle of the seventh inning due to heavy rain, thunder, lightning and hail, the game was called with the Royals having lost a shortened contest 6-2 with a fraction of the announced 15,389 still in Kauffman Stadium and having taken cover wherever they could. The game went into a delay at 9:25 p.m.

“I’m trying to understand the emotions behind it because I’m really excited about retirement,” Yost said of the pregame ceremony. “I really am. But then with the emotions it’s hard to go through these last couple of days. But it was really a neat ceremony.

“If I’d known that I was going to get this much really cool stuff, I mean I thought about just for a little while, telling Dayton, hey, I’m just kidding and we’ll do it all again next year. No. It was tremendous. It was heartfelt. It was wonderful, and I’m extremely appreciative.”

Prior to Friday night’s game, the Royals announced they’d moved Saturday’s game up to a 1:15 p.m. first pitch in an attempt to avoid a heavy rainstorm expected to hit in the area on Saturday evening. First pitch was originally scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

Royals infielder Whit Merrifield went 2 for 3 and scored both of the Royals runs on Friday. The Royals’ Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler recorded RBIs in the abbreviated game.

Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios struck out nine and allowed two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings.

The Twins (100-66) scored two runs apiece in the first, second and third innings against Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund. Skoglund (0-3) allowed six runs on nine hits and one walk. He gave up home runs to Miguel Sano and Ryan LaMarre, and did not pitch in the fourth inning.

The Twins were the first team in major-league history with 300 home runs in the regular season.

“I just wasn’t sharp,” Skoglund said. “I didn’t have very good command, not much life. I got behind in the count, and against a team like that you’re going to get punished. That’s certainly what happened.”

Skoglund, who served an 80-game suspension to start the season for failing a performance-enhancing drug test, said he plans to spend this offseason in Arizona.

In 2018, Skoglund went 1-6 with a 5.14 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) in the majors. He also posted a 1.33 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and held opposing hitters to a .157 batting average in his final five appearances (20 and 1/3 innings) of that season.

“Everyone wants to finish on a high note, so that’s disappointing,” Skoglund said of this season. “But I’m going to be in Arizona, training at the facility. Ultimately this is a big offseason for me. I’m going to sacrifice a lot to be out there and do everything I can to get stronger both mentally and physically. And the ultimate goal is be back here for opening day.”

The Royals trailed 6-1 when Skoglund turned it over to the bullpen to start the fourth inning. The Royals’ only run up to that point came on an RBI groundout by Gordon in the bottom of the first inning.

Merrifield scored the team’s second run in the fifth inning. He tripled and then scored on a Soler sacrifice fly.

Merrifield tied injured teammate Adalberto Mondesi for the American League lead in triples (10). They also became the first pair of teammates with 10 triples in a season since the Johnny Damon and Jose Offerman did it for the Royals in 1998.

Tim Hill, Kevin McCarthy, Jake Newberry and Kyle Zimmer each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Royals.

Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman (4-11, 6.11 ERA) will start on Saturday, while the Twins hadn’t announced a starter as of Friday evening.

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.