Kyle Gibson worked eight scoreless frames and Danny Santana knocked in the winning run as Minnesota topped Kansas City by a 2-0 count in the opener of a four-game series.
Gibson (6-6) threw 114 pitches, giving up four hits and as many walks but striking out seven. Glen Perkins put the finishing touches on the shutout with a perfect ninth for his 26th save.
“It was a good game for us to win,” Gibson said.
Joe Mauer hit safely twice while Eduardo Escobar added two hits and the insurance RBI for the Twins, who were coming off an interleague series loss against Cincinnati.
Chris Young (7-4) allowed a run on six hits but lasted only 5 1/3 frames in the loss for the Royals, who still own a comfortable lead atop the AL Central over their weekend opponents.
“Tonight I came up a little short,” Young said. “Gibson was better than me.”
Minnesota finally dented Young in the fifth when Kurt Suzuki stroked a leadoff double, moved up on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Santana’s liner to left which landed for a triple.
Omar Infante singled to kick off the home eighth and his pinch runner, Jarrod Dyson, stole second. Mike Moustakas walked two batters later but Lorenzo Cain fanned swinging and Eric Hosmer grounded out to end the threat.
Miguel Sano singled with one down in the ninth off Greg Holland, moved up on a Suzuki sacrifice and scored on an Escobar triple.
Perkins shut the door in the bottom of the frame on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.