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Bunt keys Royals' big inning, win over Twins

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- On a night the Kansas City Royals were hitting into an awful lot of bad luck, it took the softest hit of the night to turn a pitcher's duel into a convincing win.

Jarrod Dyson keyed a five-run eighth inning with a bases-loaded bunt to back up the solid pitching of James Shields to give the Royals a 6-1 win at Minnesota.

Shields and Twins starter Kevin Correira were nearly untouchable for seven innings. After throwing 118 pitches, Correira's night was over, and he was replaced by Jared Burton at the start of the eighth inning.

One-third of an inning later, the Royals were on the verge of winning their third straight game and 67th game of the year.

Consecutive singles by Salvador Perez and David Lough put the Royals in business. A bloop single by Chris Getz and the Royals grabbed a 1-0 lead.

Dyson came to the plate thinking bunt all the way. Burton's night was over; he was replaced by Caleb Thielbar.

"I was jumping on the first heater, right away," said Dyson, who dropped the ball just barely into the infield grass. Twins catcher Chris Herman picked up the ball, but Lough avoided a lunging tag attempt to put the Royals up 2-0.

Alex Gordon followed with a bases-clearing double and Billy Butler hit his 14th homer of the season in the ninth to give Kansas City a comfortable margin.

The Royals' winning streak come after Kansas City halted a draining seven-game losing streak on Sunday that dropped them to the fringes of the wild-card race.

"I felt great, like I was pounding the strike zone. I was just trying to be aggressive," said Shields, who struck out seven and only allowed Josh Willingham's second-inning single before Minnesota finally broke through in the eighth to score its lone run on a double by Brian Dozier.

Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth to give Shields his third win over the Twins this season.

Shields (9-8) is 4-1 with a 3.34 ERA in August. He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last three starts.

The Twins have lost three in a row and five straight at Target Field.

"Things kind of unraveled and we couldn't stop them," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire while talking about the Royals' game-winning rally. "The ball kept going their way."

Correia wriggled out of trouble early on and finished strong, getting four of his seven strikeouts in the sixth and seventh innings.

"He pitched real well, matched Shields inning for inning, a strong effort," Gardenhire said.

Kansas City put together its winning rally off Burton (2-8) and Caleb Thielbar.

The Royals stayed seven games behind wild-card leader Oakland. Tampa Bay, the second wild-card team is only six games ahead of the Royals. The Athletics beat Detroit 6-3 in a rain-shortened game while the Rays fell to the Angels, 6-5.

NOTES: With temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, neither team took batting or fielding practice on the field before the game. ... The 118 pitches thrown by Correira set a new career high for, stretching past his old record of 114 pitches -- a count he had reached on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2009. ... Kansas City and Boston traded Triple-A minor leaguers, with RHP Clayton Mortensen going to the Royals and OF Quintin Berry heading to the Red Sox. ... ESPN.com's Uniwatch ranked the Royals' uniforms 33rd among all major professional teams in North America and the Twins were 85th. ... Willingham reportedly has been placed on waivers, which means he would have to be traded by the end of the month to be included on his new team's postseason roster. ... Royals reliever Luke Hochevar is expected back on Wednesday after his wife gave birth to the couple's second daughter on Sunday.
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