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Royals cool down Twins

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Personal temperatures boiled in the 92-degree heat at Target Field on Thursday afternoon.

But the Kansas City Royals cooled off the Minnesota Twins with a 3-1 victory to sweep the three-game series.

The Royals built an early lead as Twins starter Samuel Deduno faltered in the second inning, and they hung in for their 15th win of the season over Minnesota.

"They are a young club," Royals manager Ned Yost said of the sweep. "They are going to be inconsistent at times, but they never quit. They keep battling back. It was a nice series here for us. We did everything very well. We swung the bats well, pitched well and played solid defense."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a disagreement with home plate umpire Alan Porter after Porter warned the team when Deduno hit Justin Maxwell. Gardenhire lost the argument and got an early shower.

"I think there is rule out there that you can't argue (whether the pitch was intentional)," Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach. "So the minute Gardy came out there it was an automatic ejection. It's one of those debatable issues in the game -- if anyone was watching the game, Sammy didn't have his 'A' control today. So when the ball takes off like that and instantly they warn you, it's kind of frustrating."

Royals starter Bruce Chen continued his team's dominance over the Twins. He scattered five hits across 5 2/3 innings, giving up one run and one walk with three strikeouts. His only blemish was a solo homer given up to Brian Dozier in the sixth inning.

"I thought he pitched really well," Yost said. "He started to labor a little in the sixth, and when he got up around 80 pitches, I said, 'We're going to keep an eye on him here.' The homer to Dozier (happened), then my mindset was, 'He's not going to face Willingham. We'll get as far as Morneau, and then I am bringing the heat in from that point on.' "

The Royals grabbed the lead in the second inning when Deduno walked Billy Butler and then hit Maxwell in the arm with a pitch. Maxwell did not appreciate it and expressed that to Deduno as he walked to first base.

"There were no real 'fireworks,' " Yost said in response to a question about the mounting tension. "Fireworks -- you can't see them during the day, only at night."

Both base runners moved up on a ground out and then Butler scored on Alcides Escobar's infield single. Chris Getz then singled to left to score Maxwell and Alex Gordon did the same to score Getz for a quick 3-0 lead.

Deduno threw a decent first inning, but after hitting Maxwell in the second, he never regained his rhythm.

He threw 71 pitches in three innings, giving up three runs on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Deduno, who was erratic throughout, left the game with right shoulder soreness and joined Gardenhire in the clubhouse.

"He's going to get evaluated," Steinbach said. "He says he's fine but we've seen him throw much better than what he's thrown, so one would think there must be something going on there. Because he's not throwing the same way that we know how Sammy can throw. So we get him checked out and see what, if anything, that needs to be done there."

Ryan Pressly relieved Deduno and pitched three strong innings, giving up just one hit and keeping Minnesota in the game. But the dormant Twins bats never got going.

"They really did (shut us down)," Yost said of the Twins bullpen. "We didn't really get anything cooking from that point on. We had some good at-bats, we just couldn't put anything together."

Kelvin Herrera and Will Smith combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and closer Greg Holland came on in the ninth to pick up his 36th save.

"Will Smith was phenomenal," Yost said. "He came in and did a great job of getting us through the eighth inning. Holly does what he does best."

NOTES: Josh Willingham, who started in left field for the Twins, has been claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins have until 1 p.m. ET Friday to work out a trade. ... The Royals have stolen 121 bases this season to lead all of baseball. ... The Royals are 15-4 against the Twins this season. ... With 10 strikeouts Wednesday, the Twins set a new single-season record with 1,127 Ks. They extended the record with eight more on Thursday. ... Gardenhire was ejected for the fourth his time this season.
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