Minneapolis, MN – Alex Gordon capped Kansas City's big eighth inning with a three-run double and the Royals bested the Minnesota Twins, 6-1, to open a three-game series at Target Field.
James Shields and Kevin Correia were in a pitchers' duel before the Royals broke open a scoreless game with five runs off Minnesota's bullpen in the eighth.
Billy Butler added a solo homer in the ninth and Shields (9-8) moved over .500 for the first time all year after allowing just one run on four hits and four walks over seven innings.
"(Shields) had great stuff early in the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He pitched really, really well."
Kansas City has won three in a row on the heels of a seven-game slide.
Correia scattered six hits and two walks in his seven innings, but the Twins' bullpen imploded en route to a third straight loss.
Jared Burton (2-8) relieved Correia and surrendered three consecutive one-out singles, the third a Chris Getz base hit that knocked in Salvador Perez for the game's first run.
After walking Alcides Escobar to load the bases, Burton was pulled for Caleb Thielbar, who was greeted by a textbook suicide squeeze. Jarrod Dyson put down a perfect bunt and David Lough avoided Ryan Doumit's diving tag at the plate.
Gordon then cleared the bags with a line drive down the right-field line, and though he was gunned down trying to leg out a triple, the Royals suddenly had a 5-0 cushion.
Perhaps out of rhythm following the long top half, Shields gave up consecutive singles to start the eighth and was pulled after giving up an RBI double to Brian Dozier.
Will Smith entered from the bullpen and struck out Chris Herrmann and Justin Morneau to strand runners on second and third, and Butler accounted for the final run with an opposite-field homer in the ninth.
"We're trying to be as consistent as we possibly can...to try to reach that wild card," Lough said.
Shields and Correia each struck out seven ... Correia came in 0-3 against the Royals with a 6.75 ERA in five starts ... The Royals lead the season series, 13-4. They had never previously won more than 11 games against the Twins ... The Twins went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.