MINNEAPOLIS -- The streak was sweet but short.
The Royals, who followed a dismal 12-game skid with a happy three-game spurt, were stopped in their tracks, 7-4, by the Minnesota Twins on a chilly Sunday afternoon at Target Field. The Twins snapped their six-game losing streak.
The 34,201 fans witnessed a busy bottom half of the first inning -- four runs for the Twins, five hits given up by Bruce Chen, a walk, an error, nine batters and two arguments.
"It wasn't Bruce's day. He just didn't have his good stuff today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He couldn't command it, he didn't have the velocity on his fastball. It was just one of those days for Bruce."
His start rained out on Saturday, Chen found himself pelted by misfortune before he could get his first out on Sunday. Denard Span walked, Jamey Carroll singled off the shortstop's glove and Joe Mauer rifled a hit off the first baseman's glove for the first run. Josh Willingham plugged the right-center field gap for a two-run triple.
Things seemed to improve when Justin Morneau struck out and Danny Valencia's pop foul was caught by catcher Brayan Pena. But, wait a minute, the Twins were pointing at the backstop screen and saying the ball glanced off the wire and was dead before entering Pena's mitt. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued the point, the umpires convened and decided, by golly, Valencia wasn't out after all. Thus reprieved, he got back in the box and slapped an RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Before the inning was over, shortstop Alcides Escobar made a low, wide throw to second baseman Chris Getz in a try for a force out and the Twins' Ryan Doumit was called safe. Getz claimed that while he was stretching to catch the ball, his foot made contact with the base and Doumit should be out. Yost came out to argue but there was no decision reversal this time.
"We went back and looked at the replay. The mistake he made is he went back. He had him, foot pulled off and he went back," Yost said.
Before long, Chen's shortest outing of the year was over. Willingham opened the Twins' third with a long double to center, Valencia whacked a long triple to left, Doumit hit a sacrifice fly and it was 6-1. Following a walk, Chen was pulled after 2 2/3 innings of labor involving 62 pitches.
"I didn't make good pitches and didn't execute, and the Twins' lineup did a good job," Chen said. "I'm just glad that Nate Adcock came in and did a real good job and saved the bullpen."
Adcock, brought up from Omaha just for this purpose, took over for Chen and pitched the last 5 1/3 innings. The only run off him came in the seventh on doubles by Morneau and Doumit.
"I'm just trying to go as deep in the game as I can and save our bullpen so we can go to Detroit and have them for the whole series. Everybody'll be fresh and ready to go," Adcock said.
Everybody except Adcock, that is. He threw 93 pitches in his outing.
"I was well rested. It's been a week since I actually pitched in a game. I was kind of rusty a little bit there at first, then I started to get in a groove," he said. "Two-out walks, though, don't cut it. That really kills your pitch count."
He referred to the eighth inning, when he got two quick outs, then issued two walks. Willingham helped by going after Adcock's 3-0 pitch and flied out to end the inning. Willingham probably was eager to hit a home run, which combined with his triple, double and single would have given him the rare cycle.
Meantime, Twins right-hander Jason Marquis gave up a solo home run to Mike Moustakas in the second inning, Moose's third this season. Moustakas does well against the Twins; in 10 games against them over his two seasons, he's hit .359 (14-for-39) with three homers and seven RBIs.
Moustakas also raised his season average to .315, second on the Royals only to Billy Butler's .329. Butler went 3-for-4 on Sunday.
The Royals added two runs in the fourth, an inning that included Alex Gordon's leadoff double and Moustakas' RBI single. But that was all Marquis would allow in his six innings. The Royals' fourth run was driven in by Escobar against reliever Matt Capps in the ninth inning.
The Royals got a scare in the eighth when Eric Hosmer took a half-swing and had Glen Perkins' pitch glance off his right hand. Hosmer went down next to home plate and had the hand examined but stayed in the game and finished his at-bat.
"It's OK," Hosmer said. "It just skinned me on the knuckles a little bit."
Even though the Royals' mini-streak ended, they got a good pitching performance from Adcock to save the rest of the relief corps for Detroit. It was the Royals' longest relief outing since Todd Wellemeyer went 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 13, 2006.
"Nate threw the ball really well and that's what you want your long guy to do -- come in and eat innings and hold the score right there and give you a chance to crawl back into it," Yost said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.