Samuel Deduno tossed seven stellar innings, and Justin Morneau doubled twice and drove in a run as the Minnesota Twins downed the Kansas City Royals, 3-1, in the opener of a four-game set at Target Field.
Deduno (4-2) continued his success against the Royals by limiting them to one run on five hits and one walk, improving to 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in three career outings against the AL Central rivals.
Oswaldo Arcia and Pedro Florimon each knocked in a run for the Twins, who survived Glen Perkins' shaky appearance in the ninth to win for just the second time in six games.
The Royals are also slumping having lost six of their last eight. Jeremy Guthrie (7-6) dropped his third straight start by allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Salvador Perez provided Kansas City's lone offense with a mammoth home run into the second deck in left field in the fifth inning.
The Twins had already taken a 2-0 lead the previous frame, however. Clete Thomas and Josh Willingham both singled before Morneau knocked in Thomas with an opposite-field double to left. Arcia followed with a looping liner that fell between the center and right fielders to plate Willingham, and even though the Twins squandered several chances at breaking the game open, the hosts ultimately prevailed because of Deduno and the bullpen.
After giving up singles to Billy Butler and Perez to open the seventh, Deduno retired Mike Moustakas, David Lough and Elliot Johnson in succession to strand runners on the corners.
Jared Burton worked around a two-out single in the eighth following Florimon's bases-loaded sacrifice fly, and Perkins recorded his 20th save despite putting the tying run in scoring position.
Butler walked to start the ninth and Lorenzo Cain hit a pinch-hit double with two away to keep the Royals alive. Miguel Tejada, though, stepped in as a pinch-hitter and grounded out rather routinely to third to end the game.
Morneau nearly doubled in another run in the sixth, but Willingham was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first ... Guthrie fell to 6-3 lifetime against the Twins ... Kansas City still leads the season series, 5-2, with both losses coming in games started by Deduno.