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.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.