Dozier’s 3 home runs not enough; Twins fall 11-5 to Royals

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, September 6, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Down six runs in the eighth inning, the few remaining fans at Target Field wanted a curtain call from Brian Dozier. And after hitting his third homer of the game, he was encouraged to take it by Twins manager Paul Molitor.

“It was kind of awkward. I really didn’t know what to do,” Dozier said. “But at the same time, it sinks in that, ‘Hey, even if you’re on the losing side of it, we’ve got loyal fans that pay good money to come watch us play.’ To show them the respect with the curtain call. Mollie said to get out there.”

Dozier became the sixth Minnesota player to hit three home runs in a game, and the first to do it at home, in an 11-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

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Dozier homered into the bleachers on the first pitch from Ian Kennedy (10-9), then hit a two-run shot to the second deck in the third and a solo drive into the upper deck in the eighth.

“It’s amazing to watch,” said Eric Hosmer, who homered for Kansas City. “I think we can all appreciate the third one a little more because we were up by a little bit and it wasn’t as close of a game. You’re talking about a guy who plays the game the right way every single day. . You saw the talent in him, you saw the tools and he’s certainly figured out how to put them together the past couple of years.”

Dozier has eight home runs in seven games and 38 this season, the most by a Twins player since Harmon Killebrew hit 41 in 1970. Dozier’s 10 home runs against Kansas City this year are the most ever by a Royals opponent.

Yet it’s been hard to enjoy personal success on a team that has the worst record in the majors.

“I hate losing more than anything,” said. “It tastes a lot better at the end of the day when you go home and have a cold one and you knew you won.”

Dozier has hit a majors-most 24 home runs since the All-Star break. He’s connected 36 times as a second baseman and twice as a designated hitter. The AL record for homers in a season by a second baseman is 39 by Alfonso Soriano in 2002 for the Yankees.

Dozier became the second Twins player with a three-homer game this year. Rookie Max Kepler did it at Cleveland.