Ober shelled as Twins routed by Royals

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KANSAS CITY, MO. — Voters on Tuesday will decide whether to use sales-tax money to help build a new downtown ballpark for the Royals.

As far as Bailey Ober is concerned, they can blow up Kauffman Stadium right now.

That's sort of what Kansas City did to him Sunday. Salvador Perez, Kyle Isbel and Maikel Garcia each bashed an Ober pitch over the stadium walls, Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez both rifled pitches off those walls for extra bases, and the Royals handed the Twins their first loss of the season, 11-0.

"It was a rough one," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It was not a pleasant game to have to sit through or play through for a lot of our guys."

Especially for Ober, who recorded only four outs and gave up nine hits and a walk, good for eight Royals runs.

"l'll go back and look at it, see if anything was going weird. But I executed some, they hit them. Didn't execute some, they hit them," Ober said. "Just one of those days."

BOXSCORE: Kansas City 11, Twins 0

Well, he hadn't had many like it before. It was the worst, and shortest, start of his major league career — but reminiscent of his previous low point, which came in this same ballpark last July.

Ober surrendered six runs over four innings in that one and now owns an ERA of 8.84 in this ballpark. The Royals, who managed to score only one run apiece in their first two games this season, are batting .388 against the righthander in his five starts in this park, with a whopping 1.067 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

"I remember that start. A lot of it was just, anything that was put in play found a hole. It wasn't necessarily hard-hit balls," Ober said. "But today, there were a lot of hard-hit balls. I don't know. Maybe they see me pretty good."

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It was the most lopsided loss for the Twins since a 13-2 battering in Philadelphia last August and the worst shutout loss since the Chicago White Sox hammered them 13-0 in September 2022. The Royals have had the Twins number here before, posting a similar blowout in a 13-0 victory on Aug. 5, 2013.

Royals righthander Brady Singer didn't need all the help because the Twins could do little against him. Singer gave up only three hits — oddly, all three were doubles, by Carlos Santana, Alex Kirilloff and Matt Wallner — but the Twins never advanced a runner as far as third base all day.

"He just blended his pitches really well. He threw the ball where he needed to throw it in pretty much every count," Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers said of Singer, who improved to 3-6 against the Twins. "There weren't very many mistakes at all."

The rout started slowly for Ober, who retired Garcia on a groundout before allowing Witt and Vinnie Pasquantino to single.

Then came the pitch that set a tone for the day, a 2-2 changeup that Perez launched into the Twins bullpen in left field. It was Perez's 33rd career home run against the Twins, more than any other active player.

"It was a good pitch, down and away. Salvy's in automatic swing mode there. Get it lower and you probably get a swing and miss, or at least weaker contact hitter," Jeffers said. "He's been a special home run hitter for a long time. You've got to be careful with him."

Ober escaped the inning without any more runs, but things got ugly in the second. Isbel opened the inning by pulling another changeup into the Royals bullpen in right, and Garcia made it back-to-back 400-foot homers by launching a fastball into the fountains in left field.

Witt then hit a ball off the center-field wall, just out of Austin Martin's reach, and easily made it to third with a triple. Ober steadied himself by striking out Pasquantino, but Perez grounded a single through the drawn-in infield to score Witt. When Melendez hit the wall with a double, Ober's day was done after just 53 pitches.

Kody Funderburk, Daniel Duarte, Cole Sands and Jay Jackson all made their 2024 debuts in relief of Ober, with Funderburk allowing three hits and a pair of runs, including Witt's first home run of the season, and Sands giving up a solo blast to Melendez.