Joe Mauer had a breakout night at the plate, with four hits and a two-run homer, to lead the Twins to a 5-3 win over the Royals in Kansas City Saturday night.
Trevor Plouffe went 3 for 4, hitting a single, double and triple on the night, according to the Associated Press. It was Mauer's first four-hit game since August 2013.
Mauer homered in the first inning with Brian Dozier on board; it was his fifth home run of the season. The Twins then loaded the bases, and Aaron Hicks drove in another run, as the Twins got off to an early 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Mauer got on board with a single and Plouffe brought him home on a triple, according to the AP.
The lead didn't hold up long, as Twins starter Mike Pelfrey gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-3, and he was pulled in favor of reliever Brian Duensing (3-0), who was credited with the win.
Torii Hunter drove in one more run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
Twins closer Glen Perkins closed down the Royals in the ninth, earning his 27th straight save.
Despite Perkins' stellar performance, Twins' pitching overall is of some concern, the Star Tribune notes.
Pelfrey lasted less than five innings Saturday night, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks. In his last five starts, Pelfrey is 0-3 with a horrible 8.51 ERA, according to the AP.
Reliever Ryan Pressly left the game in the seventh inning after throwing just two pitches - the second one a fastball that Alcides Escobar hit for a single. The team said after the game that Pressly has a strained right shoulder, the Star Tribune reports.
The Royals are still on top of the AL Central, but have lost five of their last six games. The Twins are in second place, just 3 1/2 games back.
The two teams wrap up their series Sunday afternoon. Ervin Santana will make his first start for the Twins after coming off an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.