MINNEAPOLIS -- Samuel Deduno threw seven sharp innings Thursday, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 3-1 win over the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a four-game series.
Deduno (4-2) had one of his best outings of the season, throwing 87 pitches and giving up one run on five hits and one walk. He struck out three. His control, which was an issue last season, was spot on.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (7-6) was nearly as effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had two walks and four strikeouts. For much of the game, only Twins cleanup hitter Justin Morneau could figure him out, hitting two doubles in the game.
The Twins scored what proved to be the decisive runs in the fourth inning.
Leadoff man Clete Thomas broke up Guthrie's no-hitter with a soft grounder up the middle. Two batters later, Josh Willingham hit a seeing-eye grounder between short and third. Justin Morneau followed with a double down the third base line to score Thomas.
Oswaldo Arcia hit a single to short right-center, scoring Willingham for a 2-0 lead.
Salvador Perez's fifth-inning homer sliced Minnesota's lead to 2-1, his fourth of the season.
The Twins restored the two-run advantage in the seventh.
A single by Trevor Plouffe, a walk to Chris Parmelee and an error by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas loaded the bases and ended Guthrie's night.
Left-handed reliever Will Smith came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Pedro Florimon, with Plouffe scoring the final run.
Deduno handed the game over to his bullpen in the eighth. Jared Burton and Glen Perkins each threw a scoreless inning, with Perkins picking up his 20th save.
Perez and Alcides Escobar each had two hits for Kansas City.
NOTES: Before Thursday, Twins pitchers had combined to allow just 197 walks this season -- the fewest in the AL. ... After homering in seven straight games, the Twins have gone four straight without a home run, matching their longest homerless drought of the season. ... The Royals pitching staff led the AL with a team ERA of 3.51 coming into Thursday's game. It was the fourth-best mark in the major leagues. ... The Royals are tied for the second-best record in the majors for extra-inning games at 6-1.