Mike Moustakas drove-in the go-ahead run as part of a two-run eighth inning and the Kansas City Royals edged the Minnesota Twins, 7-6, in the first of a three-game series at Target Field on Friday.
Moustakas also scored a run and Billy Butler cracked a two-run homer among his two hits and three RBI, while Alex Gordon added a two-run long ball and scored three times for the Royals, who have won three straight since dropping 12 in a row. Alcides Escobar added two hits and an RBI in the victory.
Jose Mijares (1-1) picked up the win with a scoreless seventh inning, and Jonathan Broxton shut down the Twins in the ninth to earn his third save of the year.
"We've swung the bats very well tonight," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We got some clutch hitting, power hitting, and some pretty darn good clutch pitching and really good defense."
Trevor Plouffe cracked a solo homer, Joe Mauer ended 2-for-4 with a double, triple and an RBI and Justin Morneau added an RBI single. Alexi Casilla knocked in two runs and Denard Span and Ben Revere collected an RBI apiece for the Twins, who have lost six straight.
Brian Duensing (0-2) gave up two runs on two hits and one walk in an inning of relief to suffer the loss.
With the contest tied at five, the Royals took the lead for good in the eighth. Jeff Francoeur started the rally with a one-out double into the left- center field gap and came around to score on Moustakas' single up the middle to make it 6-5. The Royals added an insurance run later in the inning on an RBI single to left by Escobar.
The Twins got one back in the home eighth when Danny Valencia doubled to left, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Revere and scored on a groundout by Casilla.
Broxton retired the side in order in the ninth to seal the win for Kansas City.
Kansas City jumped out front in its first at-bat when Jarrod Dyson reached on an error by Morneau to start the inning and Gordon followed by blasting one over the right-field wall to give the Royals a 2-0 advantage.
But the Twins got both runs back in the bottom of the frame. Span worked a walk to begin the inning and after Jamey Carroll popped out, Mauer cracked an RBI triple into the right-field corner and Morneau brought home Mauer with a single up the middle.
The Twins took the lead in the second when Plouffe deposited a fastball from Royals starter Everett Teaford into the seats in left field to make it 3-2, but Kansas City quickly retook the lead in the third when Butler crushed a sinker from Carl Pavano over the left-field wall for a two-run shot to make it 4-3.
Minnesota tied the game at four in the fourth when Plouffe drew a leadoff walk and scored three batters later on a single into left field by Span.
But the Royals came right back and reclaimed the lead in the fifth on an RBI single up the middle by Butler.
Minnesota again answered to tie the game in the sixth when Ryan Doumit led off the inning with a double. After a fly out from Valencia and a pop out by Plouffe, Casilla came up with a big two-out double down the left-field line to bring in Doumit.
"It was a tough loss, but as a starting pitcher, I have to set the tone and I didn't do that," Pavano said. "They gave me a lead and I let them back into it. You have to put your team in a position to win,"
Prior to Friday's game, the Royals recalled outfielders Dyson and Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha...Minnesota fell to 2-8 at home and 1-3 in games played on Friday this season...Teaford gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings, while Pavano was tagged for five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and one walk over 6 1/3 innings...Kansas City finished 4-for-8 with men in scoring position, while the Twins were 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.