MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning after Minnesota lost an early lead, and the Twins staved off another series sweep Wednesday by beating the Kansas City Royals 7-5.
Eduardo Nunez and Brian Dozier each homered, too, the first two batters to face Royals starter Dillon Gee (1-2) and just the fifth pair in Twins history to go deep in their first two plate appearances of the game.
Tyler Duffey (2-3) gave away a 3-0 lead during a five-run fourth by the Royals, but the right-hander hung around long enough to become the first Twins starter this season to record his second victory. The rotation has totaled six wins. There were 11 pitchers in the major leagues with seven or more victories when the day began.
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The Twins (12-34) have trailed at some point in all but two of their games this year. They were in trouble after Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double to halt a 2-for-22 slide and the sizzling Salvador Perez tied the game with another double. Omar Infante added a two-out RBI triple and trotted home on Duffey's wild pitch.
Sano bailed out Duffey the following inning, though, with a drive into the second deck above left field for a 6-5 lead on his eighth home run this season after Joe Mauer started with a single. Sano, who leads the majors in strikeouts with 67 in 45 games, was in a 2-for-24 skid until that.
Duffey pitched into the seventh, and Trevor May struck out Lorenzo Cain with two runners on to end a threat. May gave up 10 runs, including four homers, over 3 1/3 innings in his previous five appearances. Cain is batting .356 (32 for 90) with 17 RBIs in this month.
Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in seven attempts. Pinch hitter Jarrod Dyson hustled for a one-out double, but Jepsen struck out Whit Merrifield to end it and give the Royals (24-22) just their third loss in their last 10 games.
The Twins have been swept an astounding eight times already, but not this week. After allowing only two extra-base hits to right-handers all season before Wednesday, Gee gave up four of them in this one in four-plus innings. Nunez went 3 for 4 and is 6 for 8 in his career against Gee.
Kansas City: Cheslor Cuthbert again played 3B for Mike Moustakas (bruised left knee). Manager Ned Yost said the plan all along was to re-evaluate him Thursday after the road trip, though Moustakas was available to pinch hit.
Minnesota: To make room for RHP Buddy Boshers on the 40-man roster, LHP Glen Perkins (strained left shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. He's now eligible to be activated June 10, but manager Paul Molitor said the move wouldn't delay the three-time All-Star closer's timetable for returning.
Kansas City: The Royals return home for a four-game series beginning Thursday against Chicago, with LHP Danny Duffy (0-0, 2.13 ERA) on schedule to start for the third time. He has struck out eight in 7 1/3 scoreless innings since joining the rotation. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.57 ERA) will take the mound for the White Sox, coming off his best start of the season with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Minnesota: After a day off for travel, the Twins begin a three-game series Friday in Seattle. LHP Pat Dean (1-0, 3.86 ERA) will make his second major league start after taking a no-decision in his last turn against Toronto with six strong innings. The Mariners will send RHP Felix Hernandez (4-3, 2.21 ERA) to the mound. The six-time All-Star has a 1.93 against the Twins in 17 career starts.