MINNEAPOLIS – Shannon Stewart had three hits and three RBIs, including a single that drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to help the Minnesota Twins hand the Kansas City Royals their eighth consecutive loss, 11-8 on Tuesday night.

The Twins, who won their third straight for the first time since June 8, scored three times in the seventh against relievers Andy Sisco (1-2) and Leo Nunez after squandering several previous opportunities to score in this back-and-forth game.

Sisco walked Michael Cuddyer and Mike Redmond, and pinch-hitter Michael Ryan singled off Nunez to tie it. Then came Stewart’s soft looper to left to give Minnesota the lead, followed by a bloop single to right by Luis Rivas that made it 10-8.

Jesse Crain (7-0) continued his dominance in middle relief, earning the win with 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 tries.

Shane Costa homered and drove in three runs, and Emil Brown extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games for the Royals, who have a chance to record the third 0-9 road trip in club history – done previously in 1986 and 2000. They were swept at the Metrodome in each of the first two skids.

Redmond, in a 3-for-34 slump, had three hits and two RBIs for Minnesota, which lost third baseman Glenn Williams to a dislocated shoulder in the fourth inning. Justin Morneau homered in the eighth, his 10th of the season and first since June 11.

Twins starter Carlos Silva was his usual groundball-inducing self, but too many of them turned into hits – even though the Royals scored twice on double plays. He left with a 7-6 lead that Terry Mulholland couldn’t hold in the sixth.

Silva gave up 10 hits in five innings, his shortest outing of the year – and highest run total, too. Still, Minnesota would be even further behind the sizzling Chicago White Sox in the AL Central were it not for Silva – whose 3.55 ERA leads the rotation. When the Twins lost 11 of 15 games earlier this month, they won all three times Silva pitched during that skid.

Kansas City rookie J.P. Howell didn’t fare well, either, allowing six hits, five runs and four walks over 3 1-3 innings in his fourth career start. The 22-year-old Howell, who began the season in Class-A and was called up on June 11, got roughed up in a four-run fourth.

Notes: Negro Leagues star Buck O’Neil, who played for and managed the Kansas City Monarchs during the 1930s, 40s and 50s and became the first black coach in the majors with the Chicago Cubs in 1962, was honored before the game on African American Heritage Night. The 93-year-old O’Neil was supposed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but he faked it three times while creeping closer to the plate – and wound up laughing as he simply stuck the ball in Jacque Jones’ glove. … The Royals are 5-22 against division rivals this year. … In home game No. 40, the Twins surpassed the 1 million mark for attendance – the earliest that has happened since 1993.

AP-ES-06-28-05 2308EDT


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