Twins sweep Royals for 8th straight road win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After losing 18 of their first 23 road
games, the Minnesota Twins have found success away from the

Jason Bartlett had a career-high five hits, and the Twins beat
the Kansas City Royals 11-5 Sunday to complete a four-game sweep
and tie a Minnesota record with their eighth consecutive road win.

Minnesota also won eight straight road games from Sept. 8-26,
1965. The franchise record of 16 in a row was set by the Washington
Senators in 1912.

"We struggled early on the road," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. "We got blown away in Detroit, in Chicago, in Cleveland. All
around the United States, we didn't do too well. We were massacred
on the road. Everybody had their brooms out on top of our dugout
when we left town. We've rebounded. We've played a lot better on
the road to stay in the race."

Minnesota is 26-30 on the road and has the best home record in
the major leagues at 39-15.

"We've got to balance it out," said Torii Hunter, who had
three hits.

The Twins, who overcame a 4-1 deficit, had 22 hits in all, their
most since getting 23 against the Royals on June 19, 2003.

Jason Tyner had four singles, and Michael Cuddyer had three
hits, including a two-run homer. Luis Castillo, Mike Redmond and
Hunter also had three hits apiece for the Twins, who won for the
30th time in 39 times overall.

The Twins swept a four-game series at the Royals for the first
time. They scored 41 runs, had 56 hits, drew 36 walks and had five
hit batters during the sweep. Two others reached on errors in the
series, giving them 99 base runners in the four games.

"I can't even imagine that," Hunter said. "That's amazing."

Bartlett, Minnesota's No. 9 hitter, extended his hitting streak
to nine games, which includes five multihit games. He is batting
.543 (19-for-35) during the streak, raising his average from .328
to .377.

"I found the holes," Bartlett said. "Five hits might never
happen again for me. I just have to cherish the day."

Royals manager Buddy Bell would rather forget the day and the

"The fact is the Twins played as good as you possibly can and
we didn't play good," Bell said. "It's as simple as that. By no
means did we play very well, but the Twins should be credited with
a lot of good baseball. Everything they did this weekend was about
as good as you can do."

Dennys Reyes (4-0), the third Twins pitcher, pitched two
scoreless innings. Twins starter Mike Smith, who made his first
major league appearance since Sept. 28, 2002, allowed four runs,
three hits and three walks in three innings. He was called up
Thursday from Triple-A Rochester, where he was 9-4 with a 3.52 ERA.

"He threw 80 pitches in three innings," Gardenhire said.
"That's not the way we pitch up here. We attack the hitters. It's
100 degrees out there. We need to move the game along, pick up the
pace, make them hit the ball, get the fielders off the field."

Smith said he had "extra adrenaline" flowing.

"I threw more balls than I'm used throwing," he said. "I
think that was from the excitement of being back in the majors. I
tried to do a little too much with the ball."

Todd Wellemeyer (0-2) allowed the go-ahead run after Odalis
Perez gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings. Perez made
his second start since the Royals acquired him from the Los Angeles
Dodgers on July 25.

"I thought Perez was OK," Bell said. "We still need to try to
stretch him out. I thought he might have got tired in the fifth and
got some pitches up."

Minnesota began its comeback in the fourth, when Bartlett
doubled in a run and scored on Castillo's triple. Cuddyer's homer
put the Twins ahead 5-4 in the fifth, but Emil Brown tied the score
with a single off Matt Guerrier in the bottom half.

Hunter's RBI single gave the Twins a 6-5 lead in the seventh,
and the Twins broke open the game with five runs in the eighth
against Joe Nelson. Castillo's RBI single and Redmond's two-run
single made it 9-5, and Justin Morneau had a run-scoring infield
single for his 98th RBI and Hunter followed with an RBI triple.

Ryan Shealy hit a two-run homer in the third for Kansas City.

Game notes
The Royals have lost seven of their past eight home games.
... Royals starting pitchers have won just 22 games.