Royals' pitching staff shuts down Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez looked up at the scoreboard in the seventh inning Tuesday, not even realizing his pitcher had just allowed his first hit of the night.

MINNEAPOLIS  --  Kansas City Royals  catcher  Salvador Perez  looked up at the scoreboard in the seventh inning Tuesday, not even realizing his pitcher had just allowed his first hit of the night.

Right-hander  Chris Young  pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, allowing his only hit to the last batter he faced, as the Royals won 2-0 over the Minnesota Twins  at Target Field.

After getting Twins first baseman  Joe Mauer  to fly out to center to start the seventh, Young allowed a triple to third baseman  Trevor Plouffe , ending his no-hit bid. The ball bounced high off the wall in right field, missing a home run by inches.

Royals manager  Ned Yost  immediately went to his bullpen, calling on left-hander  Franklin Morales  and righty  Kelvin Herrera . Each got his man to ground out, preserving the win for Young, who allowed just the one hit and three walks while striking out two.

Right-hander  Wade Davis  pitched a perfect eighth inning before closer  Greg Holland  worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 11th save.


For Young, it was the second time this season he had gone at least five innings without allowing a hit. It was the eighth time in his career he allowed just one hit through six innings and the first since 2011 when Young pitched for the  New York Mets .

"Fastball command; I was able to elevate when I wanted to," Young said. "I think for most pitchers, fastball command is paramount. Certainly, tonight it was better than my last couple of starts."

Young allowed a combined 10 runs in his last two starts but allowed no runs in an outing for the fourth time this season. Tuesday marked his seventh start.

"The results were probably better than the way I pitched," Young said. "The guys made some great plays behind me. They hit a few balls hard and probably could have gotten on the board a lot sooner than they did."

The win moved  Kansas City  one game ahead of the Twins for first place in the  American League Central . The Royals will go for a three-game series sweep here on Wednesday.

"It's hard to say how fragile our confidence level could be when you go through a stretch of seven or eight games where we haven't played as well as we had during May," Twins manager  Paul Molitor  said. "I think we have a lot of confident guys in there. We still have the guys that can lead. I'm not overly concerned about confidence being something that's an issue right now."

Kansas City  took an early lead, scoring a run off Twins starter  Trevor May  just five pitches into the game. A leadoff double by shortstop  Alcides Escobar  was followed by an RBI single by third baseman  Mike Moustakas  for a quick 1-0 lead.

May would go on to scatter seven hits over six innings of work, walking three and striking out five, dropping to 4-4 on the year.


Minnesota  got little going until the sixth inning, when Young walked center fielder  Aaron Hicks  and second baseman Brian Dozier with two outs, bring right fielder  Torii Hunter  to the plate. Hunter stung the ball, but right at Royals left fielder  Alex Gordon  to end the threat.

With the Royals' outstanding bullpen waiting in a one-run game, Yost made the decision to pull Young even though he had thrown just 83 pitches and allowed the one hit.

"Because he labored in the sixth, I got Morales and Herrera ready," Yost said. "Everything changed when Plouffe hit the ball an inch from going out of the ballpark and had a triple."

Perez homered in the ninth inning to give Holland some breathing room. It was his ninth homer of the season.

Minnesota  was shut out for the fifth time this season and dropped to 3-6 in the month of June and 1-4 on its current six-game homestand, which ends on Wednesday. It was the first time since May 24, 2013, the Twins were held to just a single hit.

"Obviously, any time you aren't doing well as an offense and you're losing games, you're going to be frustrated," Plouffe said. "That's the No. 1 thing for us. We want to win series, and we haven't put ourselves in position to do that lately -- mainly because of our offense."

NOTES: The Royals will decide Wednesday whether C  Erik Kratz  will rejoin the active roster in place of C  Drew Butera . Kratz has been on the 15-day disabled list since May with a torn plantar fascia. Whoever is not chosen must either be traded or designated for assignment. ... Twins OF  Eddie Rosario  was placed on paternity leave following the game. He is expected to miss just one game. ...  Twins SS   Jorge Polanco  was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga to take Rosario's roster spot. ... Twins RHP  Ervin Santana  threw another bullpen session Tuesday as he continues to serve an 80-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Santana should return to the Twins around July 4. ... The Royals and Twins will play the finale of the three-game series Wednesday at Target Field.  Kansas City  RHP  Edinson Volquez  (4-4, 3.26 ERA) will oppose  Minnesota  RHP  Kyle Gibson  (4-3, 3.00 ERA).

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