Royals eye series win against Twins

( - The Kansas City Royals aim for a series win over the Minnesota Twins when the AL Central rivals resume a three-game set Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.

The division-leading Royals earned a 2-1 win in Tuesday's series opener and Alex Gordon was the hero with a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gordon had two of Kansas City's five hits and drove in Alcides Escobar with his 16th home run.

"The bat boy, who never says anything, turns around and says, 'Esky is going to get a hit and Gordo's taking him in the fountains,'" said Royals manager Ned Yost. "I said, 'OK. Sounds like a pretty good plan' and darned if it didn't work."

Gordon is batting .310 (27-for-87) with seven home runs and 12 RBI in August.

Gordon's big blast made a winner out of Wade Davis, who threw a scoreless ninth inning. Danny Duffy pitched the first 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run in the no-decision.

Kansas City was in danger of losing three in a row for the first time since a four-game slide from July 18-21 and is 18-6 this month. The Royals have a 1 1/2-game lead on Detroit in the AL Central and improved to 25-8 since July 22.

Liam Hendriks will make his KC debut on the mound Wednesday and went 1-0 with a 6.08 earned run average in three starts with Toronto. He was promoted from Triple-A Omaha to make the start in place of Yordano Ventura (back) and the right-hander has never faced Minnesota.

Minnesota has lost three in a row and seven of its last 10 games.

Glen Perkins gave up the home run to Gordon and Ricky Nolasco was superb in the start, allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings.

"I don't think anybody saw that coming," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "A bloop and a blast and a big walk-off for them."

Joe Mauer drove in the lone run for Minnesota.

The Twins are last in the AL Central and 29-36 as the guest. They hope Phil Hughes can continue his strong campaign when he toes the rubber Wednesday, as the right-hander sports a 14-8 mark with a 3.65 ERA.

Hughes has won four straight starts, allowing only one run in each, and lasted seven innings in Thursday's 4-1 win over Cleveland. He struck out eight batters and did not issue a walk for a second straight outing. Hughes is 8-3 in 12 road starts and 7-3 with a 5.11 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) lifetime against the Royals.

In three starts against KC this season, Hughes is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA.

The Royals are 10-7 versus the Twins this season.