Duensing earns first major league win as Twins survive Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Instead of bloop doubles, dropped fly balls and ragged middle relief, manager Ron Gardenhire preferred to focus on the good things that happened Saturday night for the Minnesota Twins.

They included a young pitcher getting his first major league win, a terrific play by second baseman Alexi Casilla and an 8-7 victory over the forlorn Kansas City Royals.

"I don't really know what to say about this game. All kinds of crazy things happened out there," Gardenhire said.

Jason Kubel drove in three runs and Brian Duensing, with the help of four relievers, earned his first win in his second career start. The Royals were 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position while their home record in the season they unveiled $275 million in stadium renovations dropped to a major league-worst 25-38.

While much of Minnesota's middle relief was unimpressive, Kansas City's was worse. John Bale and Ron Mahay faced six batters between them and gave up five hits.

"You've got to be better," manager Trey Hillman said.

Duensing (1-1), a Nebraska native, had "a bunch" of relatives and in-laws in the crowd of 33,811. He went five innings and allowed two runs, on a double by Miguel Olivo, the next-to-last batter he faced.

Duensing gave up six hits and one walk while striking out three for his first major league win after spending time at six different levels of the Twins' organization the past five seasons.

Gardenhire kept the lineup card and planned to have all his players sign it for Duensing.

"My mom and mother-in-law got a big block of tickets," Duensing said. "There was a bunch of family from both sides. It's pretty special to finally get your first big league win."

Royals starter Kyle Davies (4-9) was charged with six runs, four hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six.

Michael Cuddyer's solo homer in the second was his 20th, giving the Twins four players with 20 or more for the first time since 1987. Kubel's two-run double made it 3-0.

Here's how bad things are going for Kansas City: Davies struck out Joe Mauer, the major leagues' leading hitter, but he still reached base on a wild pitch, the major league-leading 71st for Kansas City. After the Royals barely failed to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play, Delmon Young's RBI single scored Mauer, chased Davies and put the Twins on top 4-2.

"Sometimes baseball is like that, I guess," Davies said.

Carlos Gomez and Casilla then hit RBI singles off Mahay, who has inherited 29 runners and allowed 18 to score.

"There was not a lot of fortunate situations for us," Hillman said. "I thought Davies was good in spots. He left a changeup out over the plate for the home run."

David DeJesus, with his AL-leading 10th triple, drove in two runs off Bobby Keppel to bring the Royals to 6-4 in the sixth. DeJesus and Mark Teahen each had three hits for Kansas City.

Matt Guerrier got five outs for his fourth career save and first this year. Joe Nathan, who has 31 saves in 35 chances, was planted firmly on the bench after throwing more than 50 pitches in Minnesota's 5-4 win the night before.

"I told him he didn't even need to wear his uniform, he wasn't going out there," Gardenhire said. "He said he felt weird sitting out there. Really weird."

The Twins got their eighth run on Cuddyer's bloop double, and the Royals got a run in the ninth on Yuniesky Betancourt's fielder's choice grounder.

"They got one to fall inside the line on a bloop hit and we couldn't come up with it, obviously," Hillman said. "It was perfectly placed. We had three guys going after it all as hard as they could to get to it."

After Kubel's RBI single made it 7-4 in the seventh, the Royals loaded the bases and Teahen stroked an RBI single. Then Betancourt lifted a high fly into shallow center that Gomez dropped. One run scored, but Alberto Callaspo was thrown out trying to go from second to third, saving Gomez an error.

Mauer was 1 for 3 with two walks and his major league-leading average stayed at .378.

Game notes
The last time four Twins hitters reached 20 homers in the same season, they were Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky. ... The Royals hope to get RF Jose Guillen off the disabled list by Sept. 1. He's been out since July 23 with a right knee sprain. ... Against Kansas City this year, Mauer is 17 for 35 with eight walks.