3 - 4 Final
  for this game

Twins take down Royals thanks to Thome blast

Jul 17, 2011 - 9:41 PM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Jim Thome's three-run home run in the sixth inning was the difference in Minnesota's 4-3 win against the Kansas City Royals, in the finale of a four-game set.

Joe Mauer finished 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Twins, who won three of the games in the series.

Minnesota starter Brian Duensing (7-7) yielded three runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings to get the win and improve his career record against KC to 6-1.

"Anytime you win the ballgame it's important, especially this time of the year," Thome said. "We're trying to get back into this thing and they always played us well. Kansas City has a scrappy club."

Jeff Francoeur had a two-run homer for the Royals, who have lost six of their last eight games.

Starter Felipe Paulino (1-3) allowed all four runs on seven hits in seven innings in the losing effort. He also struck out eight.

Tied at one, the Twins finally created some offense in the sixth. Ben Revere singled, moved to second on Alexi Casilla's sacrifice bunt before Mauer was intentionally walked to put men on first and second. After Michael Cuddyer struck out swinging for the second out of the innings, Thome blasted a three- run homer deep into right center to go up 4-1.

"Not many have gone longer," Thome said of his blast that was estimated to have traveled 490 feet. "Anytime you hit a ball that far it's something special. That's a feeling you kind of want to last forever."

The Royals wouldn't go away easily. During the top of seventh, Billy Butler slapped a double into center and scored two batters later when Francoeur skied a Duensing offering into the seats in left field to draw within a run.

However, they were unable to score as Alex Burnett and Glen Perkins combined to toss a shutout eighth for Minnesota.

Joe Nathan finished off the series where he came back as the Twins' closer with a perfect ninth to get his fifth save of the season. Against the Royals on Saturday, Nathan returned to the closer's role, replacing Matt Capps, for his first save since April 8, a span of 99 days.

"We're just at a point where one mistake kills us," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "If it's a pitch or missing a pitch offensively, it's just one mistake that is costing us the game. We're just walking a thin line. We hung a 3-2 curveball and it cost us the game today."

Melky Cabrera ripped a one-out double in the first and scored on Alex Gordon's single to put the Royals up 1-0 early.

But the Twins would even it up, though, during the bottom half when Casilla belted a one-out double and crossed home on Mauer's grounder through the right side.

The score stayed that way until Thome's bomb in the sixth.

Game Notes

Twins have won five straight series... Nathan recorded his 252 save to tie Dave Righetti for 29th on the all-time list...Minnesota swept a four-game set against the Royals from June 2-5 at Kauffman Stadium and improved to 8-5 in the 2011 season series...Thome has 596 career home runs.