Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 9/4)

Game 1: Friday, September 3
Kansas City0Final
Game 2: Saturday, September 4
Kansas City3Final
Game 3: Sunday, September 5
Kansas City12Final

Royals 3

(47-87, 17-50 away)

Twins 4

(77-58, 43-28 home)

    12:10 PM ET, September 4, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 011000010 3 8 0
    MIN 300000001 4 7 0

    W: J. Romero (6-1)

    L: D. Reyes (3-8)

    Tiffee's first homer in majors crowns Royals

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Eventually, Terry Tiffee's going to find out major league baseball isn't supposed to be this easy. But until then, the Twins are happy to let him enjoy the ride.

    Tiffee led off the bottom of the ninth with his first major league home run to lift the Minnesota Twins past Kansas City 4-3 Saturday.

    Since joining the Twins when rosters expanded on Sept. 1, Tiffee has driven in the go-ahead run in three of four games. On Saturday, he hit a 2-2 slider from Dennys Reyes (3-8) over the left-field fence to give the Twins their fifth straight victory.

    "I thought he'd throw a back-foot slider and I just got the barrel on it and hit it hard," said Tiffee, who went 3-for-4 and is hitting .462 since arriving in Minnesota. Tiffee is only in the lineup right now because of an injury to regular third baseman Corey Koskie, who sprained his ankle Aug. 27.

    "We've been pretty good all year at picking guys up and stepping in when guys are injured," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It shouldn't stop now."

    Trailing 3-0 after one inning, the Royals steadily fought back and tied it in the eighth when Angel Berroa led off with a double and scored two outs later on a J.C. Romero wild pitch.

    "Romero bounced a slider about halfway, which is a little disappointing," Gardenhire said. "Whenever you give up a lead, it's always disappointing."

    Romero (6-1) rebounded to strike out the side in the ninth, extending his team-record scoreless streak to 33 2/3 innings and setting up Tiffee's heroics.

    "I threw the pitch where I wanted it," Reyes said. "I was trying to get him off-balance. He just got the head out. I've been having this kind of luck lately."

    Justin Morneau put the Twins up early with a three-run shot in the first inning off rookie starter Mike Wood, his 17th homer of the season and 15th since he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on July 16.

    That was all the Twins would muster against Wood, who gave up five hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings.

    "After the first inning, he settled down and threw the ball well," said Royals manager Tony Pena. "Unfortunately, he gave up the home run to Morneau. He was aggressive after the first inning."

    Twins pitcher Carlos Silva gave up two runs and seven hits over six innings, and didn't show any signs of the neck injury that knocked him out of his two previous starts. He settled for his fourth straight no-decision and hasn't won since shutting out Anaheim on Aug. 3.

    The Royals ended a streak of 30 consecutive singles in the second when Dee Brown hit an RBI double off Silva to make it 3-1.

    Matt Stairs made it 3-2 in the third with another RBI double. Stairs' blooper caught chalk on the left-field line, driving in Berroa.

    Silva got out of a jam in the sixth inning thanks to his defense. With runners on first and third with one out, Brown lifted a fly ball to left. Rookie outfielder Jason Kubel, making his first big league start, caught the ball and cut down Calvin Pickering at the plate for an inning-ending double play.

    Kubel, who was Tiffee's teammate at Triple-A Rochester this season, said he's not surprised to see Tiffee play the hero on a bigger stage.

    "He's a great hitter, and he's been doing this all year," Kubel said. "It's nothing new for me. I expect it from him. He's always calm, and he just knows what he needs to do and how to fix things when he needs to."

    Tiffee said he hit two game-winning home runs earlier this year, including a ninth-inning grand slam to win a game in Rochester. "But before that, I'd never hit one, so I don't know what's going on," he quipped. "I'm just confident in my ability and I just try to let that take over."

    Game notes

    Kubel led off the game with a double for his first major league hit. ... Wood tied his career high with six strikeouts. ... The loss officially eliminated the Royals from postseason play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press