Pavano pitches Twins to 6-2 victory over Royals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Carl Pavano pitched eight strong innings, Delmon Young homered and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Joe Mauer hit an RBI double and Jason Kubel had two hits to back Pavano (6-6), who lost three of his previous four starts. The right-hander limited Kansas City to two runs and six hits while striking out one. He retired his last nine batters and faced more than four Royals in an inning only twice.

Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless ninth, wrapping up the fourth victory in five games for the AL Central leaders. The crowd of 40,323 was Minnesota's first of more than 40,000 at Target Field.

Pavano entered with the worst run support of Minnesota's starters and had won only once since May 13. But he has pitched at least seven innings in four consecutive starts.

Pavano's only real trouble came in the third. Kansas City took advantage of two walks and a pair of singles to take a 2-1 lead. From that point, however, the Royals got only one runner beyond first base against the 34-year-old Pavano.

Kansas City starter Kyle Davies (4-5) avoided giving up a big inning to the Twins, but Minnesota was able to steadily manufacture runs. The Twins scored single runs in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh off Davies.

In the fourth, Minnesota loaded the bases and Michael Cuddyer scored when rookie Danny Valencia grounded into a double play, giving the Twins a 3-2 lead.

Kubel doubled to start the seventh and gave Minnesota a 4-2 lead when Nick Punto beat out a potential inning-ending double play.

Davies, who let a leadoff walk turn into a run in the seventh, tied his season high with five bases on balls in 6 2-3 innings. Over his past three starts, Davies has given up 15 earned runs and 23 hits.

Young homered to left in the second to open the scoring. He has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games with three home runs and 14 RBIs during that stretch.

NOTES: With Mauer's third-inning double, the Twins have at least one double in 22 consecutive games, their longest such streak since 2007. ... Jose Guillen got his second start in the outfield this season for the Royals. Kansas City manager Ned Yost said the move was made to get him comfortable playing in the field heading into interleague play. The Royals play three of their next four series in National League ballparks. Yost said he will have to juggle his outfielders, and Guillen might play every other day. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire declined to call it a cut off for deciding whether to put SS J.J. Hardy on the disabled list, but Hardy will be re-evaluated before Thursday's game to see how his left wrist responded to a cortisone shot. ... On Wednesday, the Royals selected Nick Graffeo, a RHP from Alabama-Birmingham, in the 38th round of the draft. Graffeo is the stepson of Royals hitting coach and former big leaguer Kevin Seitzer. ... The wife of Twins starter Francisco Liriano gave birth to the couple's second son on Wednesday morning.