Twins’ bid for combo no-hitter ends with 1 out in 9th vs. KC

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MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota rookie Joe Ryan and reliever Jovani Moran combined to pitch no-hit ball until Bobby Witt Jr. doubled with one out in the ninth inning as the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Ryan was pulled after seven innings and 106 pitches, four shy of his big league high. There has never been a no-hitter at Target Field, and the crowd of 19,005 booed when Twins manager Rocco Baldelli sent Moran to the mound to start the eighth.

“I’m not worried about that,” Baldelli said . “I want what’s best for this team and I want to go to the playoffs and I want to win games in the playoffs, and that’s the priority for me right now.”

Ryan tried to plead his case.

“He said, `Listen, I’ve thrown like 156 pitches in a game,’ which is fantastical, but I think true,” Baldelli said. “But all that said, it doesn’t really affect what goes on here and the fact that we need him to go pitch against the Guardians later on this week.”

Ryan said he understood his manager’s rationale.

“The pitch count obviously comes into play. We’re trying to win some games and I’m throwing in five days again, too,’ Ryan said.

Moran worked a perfect eighth. He struck out Drew Waters to begin the ninth before walking pinch-hitter Hunter Dozier and MJ Melendez.

The Royals hadn’t come close to a hit until Witt lined a 1-2 fastball for a clean drive to deep left for an RBI double, setting off more boos from the fans.

“I wanted to help and be part of that no-hitter, but that’s part of the game,” Moran said. “And of course I’m going to get mad because I wanted to do my best and get that out, but it happens.”

Sebastian Rivero followed with an infield hit that drove in another run and Vinnie Pasquantino had a sacrifice fly.

The Twins’ last no-hitter was by Francisco Liriano against the White Sox on May 3, 2011 in Chicago.

Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela hit home runs as the Twins snapped a three-game skid. They remained five games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.

Ryan (11-8) struck out nine, walked two and set down his last 12 batters. He has never gone past seven innings in his career and had lost three of his previous four decisions.

The 26-year-old righty had never gone past seven innings in his career. He has a big league high of 110 pitches, done Aug. 9 at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ryan was a member of last year’s U.S. Olympic team and was traded to Twins by Rays while he was in Japan.

The Royals avoided being no-hit for the first time since 2008 when Jon Lester shut them down in Boston.

“What’s going on in the dugout is frustration,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “Guys realizing that it’s embarrassing when you get no-hit. Going up there fighting through their at-bats, but it’s not something you want to have them finish off.”

“So it was good to put a couple runs on, get some positive things going, and hopefully it’ll translate into more offense tomorrow.”

Kris Bubic (2-12) allowed 10 hits and five runs with six strikeouts in five innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: RF Max Kepler (right leg) was not in Tuesday’s lineup but Baldelli was hopeful he’d be available off the bench. Meanwhile, Baldelli said OF-INF Jorge Polanco and RHP Bailey Ober could potentially return this week. The manager also said OF Byron Buxton is slightly behind Polanco.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (4-8) makes his 23rd start of the season on Wednesday night. He is 0-3 against Minnesota this season with a 4.20 ERA in those outings. He’s 0-6 on the road this season.

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (7-4) will look to go 3-0 against the Royals this season when he takes the mound on Wednesday night.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).