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Streaking Twins keep Royals in tailspin

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While the Minnesota Twins kept on their scorching streak, the Kansas City Royals remained colder than Minneapolis in January.

Ryan Doumit homered and drove in two runs as the Twins beat the collapsing Royals 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Samuel Deduno and four Twins relievers combined to shut out the Royals on four hits.

The Twins are 8-2 in their past 10 games after snapping a 10-game losing streak. They have outscored their opponents 46-30 during that stretch.

"We've got a long ways to go," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We hit a bad stretch a while back and we're working our way back from that."

The Royals lost for the 11th time in 13 games and for the 15th time in 18 games to fall a season-low nine games below .500. The Royals also set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive home loss. The 2012 Royals established the old record with 10 straight Kauffman Stadium defeats last April.

"We're just not getting the job done right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's plain and simple. You can come up with all the reasons and all the excuses why, but we're just not producing offense for our pitchers right now. Those things turn, but it's an extended stretch for us where we've been struggling offensively.

"Everybody gets frustrated, but you've got to fight it. You've got to fight the frustration because it doesn't do anybody any good. So you continue to try to stay as patient as you can, try to fight frustration. Nobody likes to lose. I can't stand it."

Doumit led off the fourth inning with a homer and contributed a run-producing single in the fifth. Doumit has driven in 13 runs in his past eight games and leads the Twins with nine multi-RBI games. Doumit homered on a full-count after fouling off four pitches.

"I was just battling," Doumit said. "I got a pitch up and put the bat on the ball. With two strikes I wasn't looking to hit it out but once I hit it I knew I got it. He hung a pitch, made a mistake."

Deduno pitched six-plus scoreless innings, limiting the Royals to four hits while walking two and striking out five to pick up the victory. He has won his past two starts while allowing one run and eight hits in 13 innings.

"That's what you see out of Sammy, the ball moving all over, in and out," Gardenhire said. "Some innings he gets the pitch count up and some innings he gets us back to the dugout quick."

The Twins bullpen held the Royals hitless after Deduno was pulled after Lorenzo Cain's double to start the seventh. Glen Perkins worked a flawless ninth to log his 12th save in 14 opportunities.

"Everything was working," Deduno said. "The fastball was good. The curve and change were working. I've got my confidence in my fastball. Everything moved."

Even George Brett, who was named the interim batting coach on Thursday, has yet to pump life into the Royals' feeble offense. The Royals, who had only one runner get past second base, went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and are 2-for-27 with RISP in the past three games.

Royals starter Luis Mendoza did not allow a hit in the first three innings, although he walked three and hit a batter. Mendoza, however, failed to make it out of the fifth.

Joe Mauer, who entered the game with a career .355 batting average against the Royals, hit an opposite-field double and scored on Josh Willingham's single. Justin Morneau and Doumit hit back-to-back singles to bring Willingham around.

After Doumit's run-producing single, Luke Hochevar replaced Mendoza, who was charged with three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings after throwing 57 strikes among his 95 pitches.

"For me personally, it's really just getting back to basics, simplifying things," Doumit said. "The baseball gods have been good to me. I'm in a little bit of a groove. As a team, we're getting great pitching and timely hitting."

Billy Butler, who went 1-for-14 on a just-completed Royals road trip, led off the fourth with a double but failed to advance.

"We can't get the guys in when we need to," Butler said. "I was on second with nobody out and we had a guy (Cain) on third with less than two out. There are two runs right there. We've got to pick up the easy ones when we can."

NOTES: The Royals recalled RHP Kelvin Herrera from Class AAA Omaha, where he had tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings in five appearances since a May 23 demotion. The Royals optioned RHP Louis Coleman, who was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 4 1/3 innings, to Omaha. ... C Salvador Perez came off the bereavement and restricted list. The Royals optioned C Adam Moore to Omaha. ... 1B Morneau returned to the Twins lineup after sitting out the previous two games with an illness. ... The Royals claimed OF Quintin Berry off waivers from Detroit and assigned him to Omaha. Berry stole 21 bases without being caught last season with Detroit. ... Mauer ranks among the league leaders with 18 doubles.

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