MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota starter Kevin Correia was dominant through seven innings.
But the Twins bullpen struggled in the eighth and lost control of the game.
After Correia held Kansas City scoreless, the Royals scored five runs off relievers Jared Burton (2-8) and Caleb Thielbar in the eighth and beat the Twins 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Burton leads the Twins with 22 holds this season, but entered the game having allowed five earned runs in six innings against the Royals.
After allowing three hits and four runs in one-third of an inning, Burton's ERA against the Royals this season had jumped to 12.79, and his record against them fell to 0-3.
``Kansas City as a whole's got our number,' Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said when asked about Burton's struggles against the Royals.
``I don't even know what our record against them is, I just know it's not real good. We just haven't played very well against them.'
James Shields (9-8) was sharp for 7 1-3 innings for Kansas City and Alex Gordon had three RBIs.
Shields - the key part in the deal that sent top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay in the offseason - struck out seven and notched his American-League best 22nd quality start.
He only allowed one hit through seven innings before running into trouble and leaving in the eighth inning.
Correia matched Shields for the most part. He also struck out seven batters to tie his season high and seemed to get stronger after working out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings.
``I didn't feel like I had a real good strikeout pitch the first couple innings, but then I got better control of my curveball and then I had a pretty good changeup tonight,' Correia said.
``I was able to kind of hit my spots and get them looking for one pitch, and got a few looking strikeouts.'
After 118 pitches, Anderson said Correia was ``zapped,' and manager Ron Gardenhire decided to send Burton out to start the eighth.
Seven consecutive Royals hitters reached base in the eighth to break open the scoreless game.
The first two runs scored on a bloop single from Chris Getz and a Jarrod Dyson suicide squeeze.
Gordon followed with a bases-clearing double down the right-field line that made it 5-0 and sent most of the fans at a steamy Target Field heading for the exits.
``Good ballgame until we got into the eighth, and then things kind of unraveled there, we couldn't really stop them,' Gardenhire said. ``The ball kept going their way, bunts, you name it, everything, stolen bases, bloops, and there you have it, a five spot.'
Billy Butler hit his 14th home run in the ninth.
NOTES: Royals RHP Wade Davis is 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA and will move to the bullpen. ... Twins general manager Terry Ryan said it's still to be determined if C Joe Mauer will make the upcoming road trip to Texas. Ryan also said that Mauer is making progress in his recovery from a concussion. ... Gardenhire said OF Oswaldo Arcia will probably be out for at least a few more days with a sore hand. ... The Royals signed Carlos Pena to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Omaha. Pena, 35, hit .209 with eight homers in 85 games for Houston before being released on July 31. ... Kansas City also traded minor-league OF Quintin Berry to Boston for minor league reliever Clayton Mortensen. ... Twins 1B Chris Colabello was selected the International MVP and Rookie of the Year. He hit .352 with 24 home runs. ... The Royals bumped Bruce Chen back a day so Duffy could start Wednesday's game against the Twins. Duffy had elbow surgery last season and has made two spot starts for Kansas City in August, allowing two runs in 9 2-3 innings. ... Andrew Albers (2-1, 3.00 ERA) makes his fifth major league start for the Twins on Wednesday. Albers pitched 8 1-3 scoreless innings in his major-league debut against the Royals earlier this season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved