Twins bat around in fifth, beat Royals

" Hero: Redmond's double capped a rally in which the Twins batted around in the fifth.

" Big difference: A day after the Twins' Scott Baker came within three outs of a perfect game, the two teams combined for four errors.

" Quotable: "We don't miss a beat when he's in there." -- Twins closer Joe Nathan, on Redmond

-- ESPN.com news services

Twins 6, Royals 4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mike Redmond has been an invaluable backup catcher for Minnesota over the last three years. Pressed into more playing time with Joe Mauer hurt and fighting persistent pain in his finger, Redmond hasn't let up.

Redmond's two-run double provided the winning margin for the Twins in a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

"We don't miss a beat when he's in there," said Joe Nathan, who got the last four outs for his 29th save in 31 opportunities.

Minnesota starter Carlos Silva (11-13) was hit hard in a two-run fourth, but he survived a sinker that wasn't sinking and struck out four without a walk while giving up eight hits and three runs. Silva completed a quality start for the sixth time in his last seven appearances, defined by at least six innings with three runs or less.

Redmond helped him by capping a four-run rally in the fifth inning against Brandon Duckworth, who came off the disabled list to start for the Royals in a matinee that began at 11:10 a.m. local time. The Metrodome was needed for a college football contest between Minnesota and Bowling Green in the evening.

Mauer, an All-Star and the league's batting leader last year, has been out for the last week because of a strained left hamstring. He missed more than a month earlier this season, due to a quadriceps injury, one of many reasons why the Twins are essentially out of the playoff chase.

But the 36-year-old Redmond has proven himself as a reliable replacement, gaining even more respect by playing the last month with a dislocated middle digit on his left hand.

"He gets whacked on that finger probably every inning. He just keeps playing through it," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Duckworth (2-4), who has been in and out of rotations over the past seven seasons with Philadelphia, Houston and now Kansas City, returned from a rib cage injury he suffered in mid-June.

"I felt good. I felt like I threw a lot of strikes. I was going after guys," said Duckworth, who will probably move to the bullpen.

The Royals gave him one-run leads in the fourth and fifth innings, but he lost them both. Luis Rodriguez, who doubled in a run in the second, singled in the fourth and scored on an error by Tony Pena to tie the game at 2.

Emil Brown's dive couldn't stop a sinking single to left field by the Twins' Nick Punto, and Pena -- who picked up the ball at shortstop -- hit Punto on the back of his foot when he tried to throw him out on the retreat to first base.

That was the kind of ragged sequence that summed up this game, contrasting a crisp performance the previous night that featured a no-hitter taken into the ninth inning by Minnesota's Scott Baker.

These teams finished their third game in a 26-hour span, including Friday's day-night doubleheader. Royals center fielder Joey Gathright was charged with an error when he bobbled Michael Cuddyer's single during the big rally in the fifth when the Twins batted around.

Torii Hunter drove in the first run with a double, and Jason Kubel added an RBI single. Duckworth surrendered eight hits, six runs -- five earned -- and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and hit one batter.

"We looked like a young team that's a little tired right now," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "Things are going a little fast right now for some of our younger guys."

Alex Gordon hit his 12th homer for the Royals in the fifth, and Shane Costa had a pair of RBI doubles. The second of those came in the eighth against Pat Neshek to cut the lead to 6-4. First baseman Justin Morneau and right fielder Cuddyer bailed Neshek out with diving catches of line drives in that inning.

Silva was lucky himself in the fourth, when Jason LaRue ended an 0-for-25 slump with a double to deep center field that bounced high off the turf and over the wall for a ground-rule double. Pena reached home easily from first and was in the dugout when the umpires sent him back, keeping Kansas City's lead at 2-1.

With a contract that expires this fall, Silva has been thinking about his future. With a 4.34 ERA in 28 starts, he's had a solid season after a rough 2006 and a shaky spring.

"I would like to stay here," Silva said. "This team means a lot to me."

Game notes
Kansas City's Mike Sweeney had two hits in his second game back from the disabled list. He was booed mildly before his last at-bat, a reference to his single that stopped Baker's no-hitter the night before. "I take it as a compliment when you're out on the road," Sweeney said. "I remember as a kid going to Angels games, and I used to boo George Brett because he killed the Angels." ... Minnesota shortstop Jason Bartlett had an overthrow and a dropped pop-up for his 22nd and 23rd errors. He made 13 errors in 2006 in 99 games. He's played in 118 of 136 games this season.