MLB: Relentless Royals, streaking Twins clash in division matchup

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Simeon Woods Richardson will look to maintain his marvelous start to the season when he takes the mound for the Minnesota Twins against the Kansas City Royals in the second contest of a four-game series Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

Woods Richardson (1-0, 2.57 ERA) has allowed only 10 earned runs in seven starts. During six of those starts, he has allowed two runs or fewer.

The 23-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, will face a tough assignment on Tuesday. Kansas City lost the series opener against Minnesota 6-5 but is 13 games above .500 and boasts a plus-78 run differential, which trails only the New York Yankees in the American League.

On Monday, the Royals nearly rallied for a stunning comeback against their AL Central rival. They trailed 6-1 entering the ninth inning and scored four runs to make it 6-5 before making the final out.

Bobby Witt Jr. was at the plate with runners at second and third and two outs, but he grounded out to end the game.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro said the late rally showed his team’s relentlessness.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Quatraro said. “We talk a lot about the character of these guys — how hard they work, how much they stay in it. It doesn’t surprise me. We put good at-bats together.

“Our guys didn’t give up. We gave ourselves a chance.”

The Twins have not started the season as well as the Royals, but they also have found a way to string victories together. Minnesota has won five of its past six games and enters Tuesday five games above .500 with a plus-5 run differential on the season.

Trevor Larnach and Jose Miranda will look to inflict more damage after hitting home runs on Monday afternoon.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said he felt good about his team despite nearly surrendering a five-run lead in the ninth.

“We had a great day,” Baldelli said. “There were a lot of positives (Monday), setting that ninth inning aside and all the craziness there. There were a lot of good things that happened.”

This will be Woods Richardson’s first career start against Kansas City.

The Royals will counter with left-hander Cole Ragans (4-3, 3.34), who is scheduled to make his 12th start of the season. Ragans has struck out 76 batters in 62 innings.

Ragans has been red-hot in his past two starts. He tossed a combined 13 scoreless innings in those performances while limiting opponents to three hits. He walked five and struck out 19.

In two career starts against the Twins, Ragans is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA. That includes the season opener on March 28, when he held Minnesota to two hits on five hits in six innings but took the loss.

As Ragans is on a tear on the mound, Maikel Garcia is hot at the plate for the Royals. Garcia increased his hitting streak to 14 games on Monday when he went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

The 24-year-old Garcia is in his second full season with the Royals, playing 156 games at third base but also can taking turns at second base and shortstop.

“He’s playing great baseball on both sides of the ball,” Quatraro said.

–Field Level Media

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