Stewart's three hits, three RBI help Twins win 3rd straight

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When the Minnesota Twins need a big hit, Shannon Stewart is usually a sure bet -- sore wrist and all.

Stewart had three hits and three RBI, including a single that drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to help Minnesota hand the Kansas City Royals their eighth consecutive loss, 11-8 on Tuesday night.

"Especially with guys in scoring position, man, you always like to see Stew going up there," said Mike Redmond, who scored on Stewart's soft looper to give the Twins the lead for good in this back-and-forth game. "He always comes through."

Minnesota won its third straight for the first time since June 8. The Twins trailed 8-7 but scored three times in the seventh against relievers Andy Sisco (1-2) and Leo Nunez after squandering several earlier opportunities.

Sisco walked Michael Cuddyer and Redmond, and pinch-hitter Michael Ryan singled off Nunez to tie it. Luis Rivas followed Stewart's hit with a bloop single that made it 10-8.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win, but we just couldn't put it all together," Kansas City's Shane Costa said. "We're losing close games. We're young. Hopefully we can start turning it around."

Jesse Crain (7-0) continued his dominance in middle relief, earning the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 tries.

Minnesota's victory was dampened a bit by the loss of third baseman Glenn Williams, a career minor-leaguer who has hit in all 13 games -- for a .425 average -- since being called up for the first time on June 7. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a
dislocated right shoulder, sustained while diving back to first base in the fourth inning.

Costa went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and Emil Brown
extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games for the Royals, who have a chance to record the third 0-9 road trip in club history -- done previously in 1986 and 2000. They were swept at the Metrodome in each of the first two skids.

"It's frustrating, because it's not like these guys aren't trying," Brown said.

As the leadoff hitter in a lineup that often lacks patience, Stewart -- now batting .295 -- has had a sizable impact in Minnesota since he came over in an All-Star break trade nearly two years ago. He bruised his left wrist colliding with the left field wall while making a catch earlier this month and has occasional pain at the plate. But this was just the latest example of Stewart coming through in the clutch.

"I'm just trying to stay in there and do what I can," he said. "You just try to have a good at-bat and put a good swing on the ball."

Redmond, who carried a 3-for-34 slump into the game, had three hits and two RBI. Justin Morneau homered in the eighth, his 10th of the season and first since June 11.

Twins starter Carlos Silva was his usual groundball-inducing self, but too many of them turned into hits -- even though the Royals scored twice on double plays. He left with a 7-6 lead that Terry Mulholland couldn't hold in the sixth.

Silva gave up 10 hits in five innings, his shortest outing of the year -- and highest run total, too. Still, Minnesota would be even further behind the sizzling White Sox in the AL Central were it not for Silva -- whose 3.55 ERA leads the rotation. When the Twins lost 11 of 15 games earlier this month, they won all three times Silva pitched during that skid.

Kansas City rookie J.P. Howell didn't fare well, either, allowing six hits, five runs and four walks over 3 1/3 innings in his fourth career start. The 22-year-old Howell, who began the season in Class-A and was called up on June 11, got roughed up in a four-run fourth.

Game notes
Negro Leagues star Buck O'Neil -- who played for and managed the Kansas City Monarchs during the 1930s, '40s and '50s and became the first black coach in the majors with the Cubs in 1962 -- was honored before the game on African American Heritage Night. The 93-year-old O'Neil was supposed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but he faked it three times while creeping closer to the plate -- and wound up laughing as he simply stuck the ball in Jacque Jones' glove. ... The Royals are 5-22 against division rivals this year. ... In home game No. 40, the Twins surpassed the 1 million mark for attendance -- the earliest that has happened since 1993.