Span drives in 6, Twins keep pace in AL Central

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Denard Span(notes) had four hits and a career-high six RBIs, leading the Minnesota Twins past the Kansas City Royals 11-6 on Saturday night for their 11th victory in 12 games.

The surging Twins remained two games behind first-place Detroit, which beat the Chicago White Sox 12-5, in the AL Central. Minnesota was in third place and 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers after a Sept. 12 loss. The teams open a four-game series Monday night at Detroit.

The Twins batted around in a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Span’s bases-loaded triple. Four runs were unearned after shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt’s(notes) wild throw, his fourth error in three games, allowed Delmon Young(notes) to reach first base and Jason Kubel(notes) to score.

Brendan Harris’(notes) sacrifice fly drove in Michael Cuddyer(notes) with the other run in the inning.

Span’s fifth-inning single scored Harris and Matt Tolbert(notes), giving the Twins a 7-2 lead. Span’s eighth-inning single scored Tolbert, who had three hits and scored three runs.

Joe Mauer(notes) contributed a two-run double in the eighth and went 2 for 4 with a walk to hike his major league-leading batting average to .371.

Scott Baker(notes) (14-9) earned his first win in four starts, holding the Royals to six hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Baker retired 13 in a row after giving up back-to-back home runs to Alberto Callaspo(notes) and Brayan Pena(notes) in the second. It was the sixth time this season the Royals have hit consecutive home runs.

Lenny DiNardo(notes) (0-2), a September call-up, gave up seven runs—three earned — and eight hits in five-plus innings.

Billy Butler(notes) doubled home Mitch Maier(notes) in the Royals’ eighth. It was Butler’s 50th double, making him the seventh player in big league history to reach that milestone before his 23rd birthday.

The Royals got two runs in the seventh, with Callaspo’s double scoring Mike Jacobs(notes), who led off the inning with a single. Callaspo scored on Alex Gordon’s(notes) groundout.

The Royals have given up 39 runs, 11 unearned, in losing four straight.

NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Eric Cooper for arguing a warning issued after LHP Ron Mahay(notes) threw inside. … The flu bug is running through the Royals’ clubhouse, keeping LF David DeJesus(notes), C Miguel Olivo(notes) and RF Mark Teahen(notes) out of the lineup. … Royals manager Trey Hillman said LHP Dusty Hughes(notes), who had not pitched since a Sept. 19 start and loss at Chicago when he left with a nerve irritation, should be available for bullpen duty Sunday after two bullpen sessions with no discomfort.

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