Twins' Albers makes dominant debut

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrew Albers could not have scripted a better entrance.

Albers pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 7-0 Tuesday night.

One night after the Royals scored a season-high 13 runs, Albers did not allow a runner to reach second base until the ninth. He gave up four hits, all singles, and one walk while striking out two.

Albers, a 27-year-old Canadian left-hander who missed the 2009-10 seasons after elbow surgery, had a career 25-10 record with a 2.85 ERA in the minors.

"For a guy who is not a prototypical prospect, for them to stick with me the way they have, it is pretty special," Albers said. "You dream about this, but you never know if it will actually happen."

He was lifted after yielding a single to Alcides Escobar and walking Eric Hosmer in the ninth, having thrown 109 pitches.

"I didn't want to go out there and take him out, but he was completely out of gas there at the end," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Wow, that was fun to watch."

Casey Fien replaced Albers and walked Billy Butler to load the bases, but he induced Alex Gordon to ground into a double play to complete the shutout.

Albers yielded singles to Hosmer in the first and seventh innings, and singles to Escobar in the sixth and ninth innings.

"It is hard to put into words, but it was special to go out and have that kind of performance in your debut," Albers said. "Unfortunately, it's probably not going to get much better from there."

Butler said Albers reminded him of Tommy Milone of the Oakland Athletics and Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays, "all the soft-throwing lefties."

"His fastball had some movement," Butler said. "You've got to tip your hat to him in his debut, especially a team that's played the way we have. He must have done something right."

Brian Dozier, Justin Morneau and Chris Colabello homered for the Twins off Royals right-hander James Shields in the first four innings.

"He didn't get in jams. The home run ball killed him," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Shields (6-8) allowed a season-high seven runs on eight hits in six innings. Left-hander Will Smith replaced Shields and worked three spotless innings.

The Twins, who were blanked on four hits Monday, jumped out to an early 5-0 advantage Tuesday.

Dozier opened the game with a homer that landed in the Royals' left field bullpen. It was the Twins' first leadoff homer since Denard Span hit one on June 12, 2012, against Philadelphia.

Morneau also homered in the first after Jamey Carroll walked. It was Morneau's fourth home run in 36 at-bats off Shields.

"The first hitter, he hits a home run, and then I give up three runs in the first inning, it's a terrible job by me," Shields said. "I didn't really get off on the right foot today.

"Sometimes this can happen, but I've got to do a better job to finish the game off. I was up in the zone. When I did throw the ball down in the zone, I wasn't getting the calls I needed to get. I couldn't find it today. I was all over the place. Nothing went right.

"On the flip side, you've got a young kid on the other side that pitched a phenomenal game. Overall, he did a pretty good job handling our bats, especially the way we swung it yesterday. Sometimes those games are going to happen."

The Twins manufactured a run without a hit in the second. Shields walked Chris Herrmann and hit Clete Thomas with a pitch to begin the inning. Doug Bernier advanced them with a bunt, and Dozier's sacrifice fly to center brought home Herrmann.

Colabello hit the first pitch of the fifth inning for a homer to right, increasing Minnesota's lead to 5-0.

NOTES: Royals LHP Danny Duffy will make his first start of season in the series finale Wednesday. Duffy, who was 3-0 with a 4.21 ERA in 10 starts with Triple-A Omaha, replaces RHP Wade Davis, who remains on the family emergency list after the death of his step-brother. ... Minnesota's Joe Mauer made his first start at first base since July 7 and only his sixth start of the season at the position. He went 0-for-4. Mauer has been the Twins' starting catcher in 66 games. ... Twins SS Pedro Florimon, who has been out with a sore left wrist, took batting practice. If he feels OK on Wednesday, he will start. ... Twins OF Darin Mastroianni, who went on the disabled list in April with a left ankle injury, will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday. ... Royals OF David Lough, who has missed two games with a left quad injury, is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday.