KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Twins outfielder Clete Thomas thought he had tracked down Alex Gordon's double leading off the eighth inning, and reliever Jared Burton seemed surprised that Eric Hosmer's base hit found a hole.
Lorenzo Cain's homer? There was no doubt about that one.
The Kansas City Royals' scuffling offense scored four runs in the eighth inning Thursday night, the sudden and surprising surge carrying them to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins and their first two-game winning streak since the first week of May.
``It's not magic, guys. You either execute or you get executed. This one hurts,' Burton said. ``We got off to an early lead. It's a tough one to lose. We needed this series.'
The Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to some shoddy Royals defense, but they had coughed it all up by the eighth inning when Burton (0-3) came into the game in relief.
Gordon hit a zinger to center that bounced off Thomas' glove - ``I thought I had it the whole way,' he said - and resulted in a leadoff double. Hosmer's single gave the Royals the lead, and a double by Billy Butler provided a two-run cushion.
That's when Cain went deep to left field for his second homer of the season.
``Burton doesn't have too many nights like that where he doesn't shut them down,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``A couple of balls off the end of the glove there and one rolled through the hole, the next thing you know you get in a little jam and he made a really bad pitch to Cain.'
The result was a four-run inning, or the same amount of runs as the Royals have scored in any of their last 14 games. Their seven total runs were their most since May 21.
Wade Davis allowed three unearned runs before the Royals bullpen took control. Luke Hochevar, Tim Collins (2-1) and Greg Holland combined for four scoreless innings to wrap up the win.
``We're getting better. We're starting to come out of it,' said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team ended a franchise-record 11-game home losing streak on Wednesday night.
``The offense looks like it's starting to turn the corner a little bit,' he said.
Things began well enough for Minnesota when Jamey Carroll led off the game with a grounder that third baseman Mike Moustakas fielded cleanly and then threw over Hosmer's head at first base for an error. Carroll ended up on second, and eventually reached third on a groundout.
The errors were only beginning for Kansas City.
Josh Willingham proceeded to strike out on a wild pitch that not only allowed him to reach base but also allowed Carroll to score. Two batters later, Ryan Doumit went deep for the second time in the series to give the Twins a 3-0 lead - all on one hit.
``That first inning had some weird stuff happen,' Davis said. ``I just kept telling myself, `Keep it right there,' especially when we scored the two runs. It gave me extra motivation to bear down.'
The two runs came in the second on a single by Chris Getz, and the Royals finally tied the game in the sixth when Hosmer doubled and Salvador Perez drove him home with a single.
That kept both starting pitchers from factoring in the decision.
The Twins' Mike Pelfrey, whom the Royals tagged for six runs in two innings in April, went a season-best 6 1-3 on Thursday night. He allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk.
Davis needed 107 pitches to get through five innings for Kansas City, thanks in part to his shaky defense. He allowed four hits and three walks, but all three runs off him were unearned.
It was the first time he hadn't allowed an earned run in a start since April 17.
``That's kind of the way it's been for Wade. He finds ways to bend a little bit but never breaks, or seldom breaks, but always gets his pitch count up high,' Yost said. ``He gets himself into trouble and pitches himself out of it, and he did that again tonight.'
NOTES: The Royals claimed 3B/OF Edinson Rincon off waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. They also sent OF Jarrod Dyson (right ankle sprain) on a rehab trip to Triple-A Omaha. ... The Twins head to Washington for the first time under manager Ron Gardenhire, though he pointed out he's been there before. He visited the White House after the '91 Twins won the World Series. RHP Kevin Correia pitches the opener against the Nationals on Friday night. ... RHP James Shields will start Friday night for Kansas City against Houston.
The Associated Press News Service
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