Series: Game 1 of 4

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 5/12)

Game 1: Monday, May 12
Kansas City3Final
Game 2: Tuesday, May 13
Kansas City2Final
in 10
Game 3: Wednesday, May 14
Kansas City0Final
Game 4: Thursday, May 15
Kansas City9Final
in 14

Royals 3

(23-13, 10-9 away)

Twins 2

(20-17, 8-9 home)

    8:05 PM ET, May 12, 2003

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 200010000 3 8 0
    MIN 000101000 2 9 0

    W: J. Affeldt (3-1)

    L: J. Mays (3-3)

    S: M. MacDougal (11)

    Affeldt strikes out career-high eight in victory

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jeremy Affeldt gave the Kansas City Royals a lift when they needed it most.

    Affeldt struck out a career-high eight and Carlos Beltran homered as the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 Monday night in the opener of a four-game series between the top two teams in the AL Central.

    The first-place Royals improved to 17-3 against division opponents and 3-0 against the Twins -- all three decided by one run. Kansas City is 3 games up on Minnesota.

    "Last year we had good battles with them," Affeldt said. "We knew coming in that all four games are going to be battles."

    Affeldt (3-1) pitched six innings, his longest outing of the season, giving up two runs and seven hits. He struck out Jacque Jones three times.

    "He came with it tonight," Minnesota's Torii Hunter said. "He was throwing some gas. He did his job getting the lefties -- and some of the righties, too."

    Affeldt, making his second start since returning from the disabled list with a blister on his left hand, provided a big boost for a staff that had a 5.96 ERA in its last 16 games.

    "He's got the ability to be a 20-game winner in the big leagues," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "The more time we give him to develop, the better he will get."

    Jason Grimsley pitched two innings of scoreless relief, and rookie Mike MacDougal got three outs for his AL-leading 11th save in 13 chances.

    Raul Ibanez hit a two-run single in the first inning. Beltran added a solo homer in the fifth and finished with three hits.

    Hunter homered for the Twins, and Matthew LeCroy had an RBI double.

    Joe Mays (3-3) gave up six hits in seven innings, but control problems cost him in the first.

    Mays went to three balls on four consecutive hitters and didn't retire any of them. After loading the bases with two walks and a single, he gave up a two-run single to Ibanez.

    "I put myself in a jam trying to find my release point," Mays said. "It wasn't the regular me. I nitpicked a little too much."

    Hunter saved at least one more run with two great plays in the fourth. With a runner at first and one out, he made a running catch of Brent Mayne's drive to left-center, then dived to rob Angel Berroa of extra bases in right-center.

    Hunter got the Twins on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth with his fifth homer of the season.

    Beltran made it 3-1 with his fourth homer, which just cleared the left-field fence near the foul pole.

    "I made a good pitch," Mays said. "When I saw it leave the bat, I thought 'F-7' to Jacque, but it just kept carrying."

    LeCroy's RBI double cut it to 3-2 in the sixth. The Twins left the tying run on third base in the sixth and seventh.

    Mike Sweeney was back in the lineup at DH for Kansas City after missing the past four games with a right hamstring strain. He went 1-for-3 with a walk.

    Game notes

    Jones was named AL player of the week after batting a league-best .560. ... Royals 2B Carlos Febles missed his second consecutive start after being hit on the right finger Saturday. Desi Relaford took his place. ... It was the 162nd game of Pena's tenure as Royals manager. He is 72-90. ... The Twins failed to score in the first inning for the first time in seven games. ... Twins RHP Rick Reed threw on the side for the second consecutive day and will make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Royals. Reed missed his last start because of a back injury. ... With the Minnesota Wild hosting an NHL playoff game in St. Paul, the Twins drew a paid attendance of just 12,199, and it appeared only about 5,000 showed up. ... Oakland Raiders quarterback and Twin Cities resident Rich Gannon threw out the first pitch.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press