Royals push winning streak to eight games

Joe Oberle, The Sports Xchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins traded punches at Target Field on Wednesday night, until the Royals finally knocked out the home team for a 4-3 win.

The streaking Royals, winners of eight straight, banged out 13 hits on the night. They've taken the first two games of the three-game series.

"We made a lot of really, really important plays," winning pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said. "I would say this is one of the gutsier wins I've ever been a part of."

The Royals broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the seventh inning. Alex Gordon hit a two-out triple to center off Caleb Thielbar (1-1), and he scored when Eric Hosmer hit a grounder up the middle that Pedro Florimon could not handle. Florimon was charged with an error.

Hosmer then stole second and scored on Billy Butler's single up the middle.

"There were a lot of plays that helped us win that game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Gordon against a very tough left-hander with a two-out triple. Hosmer puts the ball in play up the middle, and we end up getting a run on an error there, but Hos with the big steal and Billy grinding out a tough at-bat and getting a base hit up the middle to score that fourth run was big for us. It was the winning run."

The Twins got a run back when Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe began the eighth with back-to-back doubles off Kelvin Herrera. Aaron Crow got the last two outs of the inning, and Greg Holland threw a scoreless ninth to pick up his 28th save of the season.

Guthrie (11-7) pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Twins starter Kevin Correia gave up 10 hits in his six innings, but he allowed only two runs. Correia struck out three without walking a batter. He got rocked but stayed on his feet and kept the Twins in the game.

"He was in plenty of (trouble)," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He made pitches when he had to. He got through it somehow or another, he made enough pitches when he had to and gave us a pretty decent chance."

Down 2-1, the Twins evened the score in the sixth by hitting singles on three consecutive pitches. Plouffe then swung at the next pitch, hitting an infield grounder that forced Joe Mauer out at home, but Chris Herrmann walked to knock in a run.

"His stuff was really, really good, but he was getting into a lot of deep counts," Yost said of Guthrie. "It was one of those games where you could say he wasn't sharp, but he was sharp, he was getting into a lot of deep counts. But to get through the sixth inning the way that he did was very impressive."

The Royals scored in the second inning when the speedy David Lough stretched a shot to the gap into a double. He scored easily on Miguel Tejada's single to right for a 1-0 lead.

The Royals scored another run in the third when Gordon led off with a single. He moved to third on Eric Hosmer's double to left-center and scored on Butler's sacrifice fly. Hosmer tried to take third on the play and was thrown out on a strong throw by Twins right fielder Herrmann.

"That was one of the best throws that I have seen all year from an outfielder," Yost said. "Absolutely perfect throw. As good a throw as you are going to see."

In addition to the outfield assist, the Twins played their typical tough defense, catching Lough on a steal attempt and Florimon getting a tough out deep behind second base.

Florimon got the Twins' third hit of the game in the fifth when he hit his seventh home run of the season to score the team's first run.

However, it wasn't enough to snap Kansas City's streak.

"They're hot right now," Gardenhire said of the Royals. "Things are going their way. They're definitely into the games over there. Their pitching staff is good, even though we put a lot of pressure on them, they got some strikeout guys. They play the game, they get after it pretty hard."

NOTES: Doumit was selected the Twins' representative for the 2013 Heart and Hustle award, voted on by the MLB Players Alumni Association. ... During the winning streak, the Royals pitching staff has allowed just 12 earned runs in 75 innings for a league-best 1.44 ERA in that span. ... The Twins have committed just 46 errors this season, the fourth-lowest total in the majors.