K.C. survives Twins, finally wins one on the road

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- John Buck made the Minnesota Twins the latest team to pay for an intentional walk.

Kansas City's catcher hit a two-run double with the bases loaded to cap a tiebreaking three-run seventh inning in the Royals' 6-3 victory Wednesday night.

"Any time a guy gets intentionally walked in front of you, it gets the adrenaline going a little bit," Buck said. "For the team's sake, you want to come through. It is usually a situation that is a pivotal part of the game, that could turn around the game dramatically."

Reggie Sanders scored the go-ahead run for the Royals on a passed ball charged to Joe Mauer. Buck's two-out double then scored Esteban German, who had a pinch-hit single, and Angel Berroa, who was walked intentionally, to make it 6-3.

"As a hitter when they walk somebody in front of you to load the bases, it gets your heart starting a little bit. You've just got to be careful that you are not overanxious," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "John took the pitch that got Reggie in, and he put a good swing on that pitch for a double. He hit the ball good all night. Those two extra runs were really big."

Berroa is 6-for-16 off Juan Rincon, which is why Twins manager Ron Gardenhire ordered the walk.

"We looked at the numbers," Gardenhire said. "You just can't take a chance there. We felt we could take a chance with Buck."

He said Mauer was crossed up on the passed ball.

"He called slider and he got a fastball," Gardenhire said. "We've been using one sign and changed with men on base. It was just a little confusing."

Buck and Sanders each had two hits and two RBI and Mark Grudzielanek had three hits as the Royals won for the 11th time in 16 games.

Jesse Crain (2-5), the second of four Minnesota pitchers, took the loss, while Jeremy Affeldt (4-5) threw just one pitch -- retiring Justin Morneau on a comebacker to end the seventh with runners on the corners -- to get the win.

"Those are the interesting ones, one pitch and win," Affeldt said. "I've thrown 110 pitches and lost, so give some, take some."

Ambiorix Burgos pitched the ninth to earn his 14th save in 22 opportunities.

Sanders had an RBI single in the first inning. Grudzielanek led off the third with a double, his seventh in five games, advanced to third on fly out and scored on Sanders' sacrifice fly to center.

The Royals went ahead 3-1 in the fourth, which Berroa opened with a double. Joey Gathright snapped an 0-for-14 with a single, moving Berroa to third and he scored on David DeJesus' sacrifice fly.

Royals starter Brandon Duckworth retired the first eight batters before giving up consecutive singles to Jason Bartlett, Luis Castillo and Nick Punto in the fourth. Punto's single scored Bartlett.

Mauer's two-out single in the fifth scored Bartlett and Castillo, who both walked. Mauer, who went 1-for-3 and leads the majors with a .391 batting average, golfed a pitch from Duckworth that was no more than six inches off the ground into right field.

"Everything seemed to be working real well for me," Duckworth said. "I got in trouble in that fifth with the two walks ending up hurting. I made a pitch to Mauer that I wanted to. He did a good job of hitting, getting the ball into that hole. I thought it was going to bounce. it was a changeup and I wanted to make sure it was down and was hoping he went out of the zone. That's why he's hitting .391."

Duckworth left after six innings, his longest outing since the Royals acquired him in a June 10 trade with Pittsburgh. Duckworth gave up three runs and six hits, walked three and struck out three.

Twins starter Brad Radke allowed three runs and 11 hits over five innings. He is 1-5 with a 6.52 ERA in nine road starts, compared to 6-2 with a 3.95 ERA in nine starts at home.

"It seems like every time we come in here the Royals play us tough," Radke said. "You don't want to lose a lot of games going into the All-Star break. We want to stay calm, like we have been, and play some good ball."

Morneau doubled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He has hit safely in 24 of his last 25 games.

Game notes
Twins center fielder Torii Hunter picked up his seventh assist, which ties him for the league lead for outfielders. ... DeJesus went 0-for-4 to end his 11-game hitting streak. ... Gathright stole his first base since the Royals acquired him in a June 20 trade with Tampa Bay. He had 12 stolen bases with the Devil Rays. ... Bell was ejected in the seventh inning, arguing Punto foul tipped a pitch when Castillo stole second. It was Bell's third ejection of the season and his first since May 7.