MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Alcides Escobar tied a career high with four RBI on two doubles and Salvador Perez homered to lift the Kansas City Royals to a 6-1 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
Danny Duffy (5-7) gave up one run and four hits while striking out three in 5 2/3 innings and Mike Moustakas had two hits for the Royals. Kansas City (43-39) has won three of four and is off to its best start since 2003.
Yohan Pino (0-2) gave up four runs and seven hits while also striking out three in 5 2/3 innings for the Twins. Eduardo Nunez had two hits and an RBI in his return from the disabled list for Minnesota, which has lost six of its last seven games to drop into last place in the AL Central.
The Royals entered the night 3 1/2 games behind Detroit in the division and 1 1/2 games out of the AL wild card. For a team that has been endlessly rebuilding and hasn't made the playoffs since 1985, those are encouraging numbers as the season reaches its midpoint.
They grabbed everyone's attention with a 10-game winning streak that vaulted them into first place in June, but had lost seven of 10 games as the bats cooled off.
The Royals signed 42-year-old Raul Ibanez on Monday, hoping he can help boost the team's scuffling offense and give a little extra support to a solid starting rotation. Ibanez broke into the big leagues with the Royals a decade ago, but hit just .157 in 57 games for the Angels this season.
They had plenty of offense with him on the bench on Monday night.
Pino was shaky early, getting tagged for a two-run double by Escobar in the second inning and an RBI-single from Alex Gordon in the fourth to fall behind 3-0. Perez's solo homer in the sixth ended Pino's day and the Royals took advantage of two throwing errors by second baseman Brian Dozier in the eighth, padding their lead with Escobar's second two-run double of the game.
Kurt Suzuki had two hits for the Twins.
Notes: Twins GM Terry Ryan said prized prospect Byron Buxton is getting close to returning from a wrist injury that has kept him out for most of the season. Ryan said there still is no timetable for a return, but he'd be surprised if Buxton wasn't back on the field sometime in July. ... Twins RF Chris Parmelee extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the fifth inning. ... Moustakas made two stellar plays at 3B, a lunging catch on a liner by Kendrys Morales in the second and a scoop and force out at 3B to end a threat in the seventh. ... Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-6, 5.74) will start the second game of the series this evening against RHP James Shields (8-3, 3.79).