Tomko sets tone vs. Twins as Royals move to 4-2

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals got off to a fast start, even with a first week on the road against AL Central rivals.

Brett Tomko pitched five shutout innings, Alex Gordon hit a two-run single that put Kansas City ahead in the second inning, and the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-1 Sunday.

Kansas City finished its opening trip to Detroit and Minnesota 4-2, its best start since 2004. The Royals had only three winning trips last season, none until a 6-4 swing to the Chicago White Sox, Oakland and Colorado from May 11-20.

"If you would've told us we'd be 4-2 after starting at Detroit and Minnesota, we probably would've taken it," catcher John Buck said. "It could've been more, but we'll take it."

New manager Trey Hillman's bullpen received much of the credit after Sunday's game. Royals relievers have allowed two runs in 17 innings thus far.

"The bullpen's been great," Tomko said. "To come in and just give up a run in four innings, I'm sure Trey will take that any day of the week. Shoot, to have a good bullpen as a starter, to go five or six innings and you know those guys are going to come in there and shut the other team down, it makes our job a lot easier."

Minnesota, which added Delmon Young, Mike Lamb and Brendan Harris, has scored more than four runs only once and has hit into 11 double plays.

"We have to score more runs," infielder Matt Tolbert said. "We're playing hard, having good at-bats. It's just we have to score more than one run to win."

Making his first start of the season, Tomko (1-0) allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one. He began last year with six scoreless innings of one-hit ball for Los Angeles against Colorado, but finished a combined 4-12 for the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

"You just don't want to give in and have a big inning happen, so I just kept trying to battle guys," Tomko said. "Overall, I'm pretty happy about it, considering it was the first start of the season."

Joakim Soria struck out the side in order in the ninth for his third save, capping four innings of two-hit relief that included stints by Ron Mahay, Leo Nunez and Jimmy Gobble. Minnesota's only run came in the sixth when Justin Morneau homered for the second straight game.

"They just pitched better," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Tomko threw a lot of pitches. We made him work a little bit. Their bullpen did a superb job, too."

Boof Bonser (0-2) gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings for Minnesota, which completed its opening homestand 3-4.

"Everything's there," Bonser said. "I can't complain. I threw seven innings, and I could have definitely went out for another one."

Gordon's single in the second followed Jose Guillen's leadoff single and Billy Butler's double. Buck added an RBI single in the seventh after Gordon's leadoff double.

"If we play better on the road, we're going to play better all around," Butler said. "It's a good way to start. You have to give the staff credit. We didn't give them much support, but it was all they needed."

Hillman was pleased headed into Tuesday's home opener against the Yankees.

"Obviously, managers always want more, but I'm very, very happy with this road trip," he said. "Nobody got too high, nobody got too low with the losses. Guys were determined to go home on a winning note."

Game notes
OF David DeJesus left the season opener with an ankle injury in the third inning and hasn't played since. Hillman isn't sure if DeJesus will be ready for Tuesday. ... Denard Span made his major league debut for the Twins in right field and went 0-for-2 with a walk. ... Twins starters have more balks (two) than walks (one) this season.