Samuel Deduno threw seven strong innings, and Justin Morneau doubled twice and drove in a run as the Minnesota Twins topped the Kansas City Royals, 3-1, in the opener of a four-game set at Target Field Thursday night.
The Twins scored two runs in the 4th inning, the first on one of Morneau's doubles and what would be the eventual game winner when Oswaldo Arcia knocked in Josh Willingham. Pedro Florimon added an insurance run in the 7th on a sacrifice fly that scored Trevor Plouffe.
But pitching was the story of the night, with Deduno going seven innings, giving up one run on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Jared Burton pitched a spotless set-up in the 8th, and Glen Perkins put a couple runners on before getting a shaky save in the 9th – his 20th save of the year.
The win at home was welcome after the Twins sleepwalked through two losses to Miami.
"Sammy was fantastic," Manager Ron Gardenhire said of Deduno to Fox Sports North after the game. "Perk came in and was entertaining. He had some bullets, but he got outs."
Salvador Perez provided Kansas City's only run with a home run into the second deck in left field in the 5th inning.
The Royals are slumping having lost six of their last eight, according to the Sports Network. Jeremy Guthrie (7-6) dropped his third straight start by allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.