KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jose Guillen homered and drove in two runs to support Brian Bannister's work-through-trouble effort, helping the Kansas City Royals avoid a three-game sweep with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Guillen hit his seventh homer in the fifth inning and Bannister (1-1) escaped a baserunner-filled game by scattering nine hits over 6 1-3 innings. Kansas City's beleaguered bullpen had some shaky moments before Joakim Soria closed out the ninth for his fifth save.
Justin Morneau hit his fourth homer and had a run-scoring double off Soria in the ninth, but the Twins stranded 12 runners — four in the last two innings — and couldn't overcome a less-than-stellar outing by Kevin Slowey (2-2).
Guillen has slid comfortably from right field into the designated hitter's spot following a 2009 season filled with disappointment and injuries.
The 33-year-old Dominican slugger homered in four straight games from April 11-14 and entered Sunday tied for first in the AL with nine multihit games, second in total bases (49), third in hits (25) and fourth in slugging (.690).
Guillen twice doubled in runs against the Twins Saturday night and opened Sunday's game with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He later broke a 2-all tie in the fifth, lifting a no-doubt solo shot to left-center off Slowey that landed in the fountain behind the first section of seats.
Both teams needed to get some depth from their starting pitchers after Saturday night's soggy, 4 hour-plus game that lasted 12 innings and featured 14 pitchers, including two-inning stints by both closers.
They got it, though neither was particularly efficient.
Bannister worked a perfect first and through trouble the rest of the way.
He got help in the first inning from third baseman Alex Gordon, who made a diving stop on leadoff hitter Denard Span's one-hopper and threw him out from one knee. Bannister then gave up two runs in the second, on a shoulder-high pitch that Morneau hit out to right for a solo homer and J.J. Hardy's run-scoring single to left.
The right-hander kept letting runners reach base and kept getting outs after that, leaving in the seventh after Orlando Hudson's one-out single. Bannister allowed two runs.
Josh Rupe worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and Soria stranded Morneau at second in the ninth by striking out Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome for his 94th career save, passing Aurelio Lopez for most all-time by a Mexican-born pitcher.
Slowey, coming off a stellar start against Cleveland on Tuesday, was hurt by Guillen in the first and fifth, sandwiched around a run-scoring single by Yuniesky Betancourt in the fourth. The right-hander gave up a run-scoring triple to Mitch Maier in the sixth that put the Royals up 4-2, then was done after inducing Betancourt to ground out.
Slowey allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Notes: An MRI revealed no damage to Twins 3B Nick Punto's sore right groin, but he'll have further tests on his hip to determine if the pain is coming from there. ... Royals INF Chris Getz will begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Monday. He's been on the DL since April 15 with a strained right oblique.