Twins 2, Royals 1: Kyle Gibson tossed seven strong innings while rookie Danny Santana recorded two hits and scored twice as visiting Minnesota took the opener of the three-game series.
Gibson (9-8) permitted only two singles and a pair of walks while fanning seven to improve to 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in three career starts against the Royals. Brian Dozier went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Josh Willingham added a sacrifice fly for the Twins, who have won consecutive games for the first time since the All-Star break.
James Shields (9-6) fell to 1-3 over his last eight starts and remained winless in three tries versus the Twins this season after yielding two runs (one earned) on six hits and a season high-tying four walks in six frames. Omar Infante doubled to lead off the ninth inning and scored two pitches later on Eric Hosmer's single, but the Royals could not avoid their second straight loss following a five-game winning streak.
Santana opened the third with a bunt single and advanced to third moments later on an errant pickoff attempt and a groundout before trotting home on Willingham's towering fly to center field. Santana doubled with one out in the fifth, moved to third on Sam Fuld's single and scored easily when Dozier hit a grounder under the glove of third baseman Mike Moustakas for a base hit.
Gibson picked off the only baserunner he allowed through four innings and stranded three over his next two frames before exiting after needing only four pitches to get through the seventh. Casey Fien worked a scoreless eighth and All-Star Glen Perkins gave up Hosmer's RBI hit in the ninth before settling down for his 26th save.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Shields was struck in the left hip by a line drive off the bat of Fuld in the third but recovered to throw him out and stayed in the game to throw a season-high 124 pitches. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected at the end of the same half-inning for arguing a challenge when video replay upheld the initial ruling that Royals LF Alex Gordon made a diving catch on a fly hit by Chris Parmelee. … Minnesota won for only the fourth time in its last 14 tries in Kansas City.