Minneapolis, MN – The Kansas City Royals' five-game slide heading into the break feels like eons ago.
And for the first time in a long time, Kansas City upgraded at the trade deadline.
Nine is fine for the Royals.
Billy Butler tallied two hits, two RBI and a run scored as Kansas City won its season-high ninth straight game, a 7-2 triumph over the Minnesota Twins to complete a three-game sweep.
The Royals haven't won nine in a row since they started the 2003 campaign 9-0.
Justin Maxwell, who was acquired Wednesday before the non-waiver deadline from the Houston Astros for pitcher Kyle Smith, made his Royals debut. He had a hit, a sacrifice fly and scored a run.
James Shields (6-7) labored through six innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and five walks for the Royals, who finished off their first sweep of the Twins in Minnesota in 14 years.
"We're on a nice little roll after the break," Shields said. "Unfortunately we're not gaining too many games, but we're playing some really good baseball and we believe in ourselves."
Scott Diamond (5-10) surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits and three walks over five innings for Minnesota, which dropped its fourth consecutive contest.
Justin Morneau smacked a solo shot to center in the defeat.
"Not a good baseball game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Didn't look like the boys were ready, missed some plays and that was really disappointing."
After the Twins pushed across a pair of runs in the third to cut the deficit to 3-2, Kansas City plated a run in the fourth and fifth, and added two more in the sixth to surge ahead.
Alcides Escobar recorded an RBI groundout in the fourth and Miguel Tejada had one in the fifth.
Lorenzo Cain took away a potential Trevor Plouffe two-run shot in the home fifth. Plouffe drove one to left-center and Cain raced back to the wall, set his feat and leapt in the air before making an incredible snag.
Maxwell led off the sixth with a walk and Escobar followed with a single before Eric Hosmer grounded into a force out to put runners on the corners with one away. Hosmer then stole second and Butler slapped a base hit to right to plate Maxwell and Hosmer to make it 7-2.
Kansas City scored two in the second and added another in the third to jump out to a 3-0 advantage.
Mike Moustakas lifted a sacrifice fly and Maxwell added an RBI in the second, while Alex Gordon led off the third with a triple before being pushed across by a Hosmer sacrifice fly.
A Joe Mauer RBI groundout and Morneau's homer in the third whittled the margin down to one.
The Royals placed second baseman Chris Getz on the 15-day disabled list earlier on Thursday to make room for Maxwell ... The Royals were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.