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Gibson deals, Twins hang on to beat Royals

Photo by John Rieger / USA TODAY Minnesota center fielder Danny Santana, left, is congratulated by right fielder Chris Parmelee after scoring on a sacrifice fly against Kansas City on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Right-hander Kyle Gibson pitched seven scoreless innings, and the Minnesota Twins defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 Tuesday night.

Gibson (9-8) limited the Royals to two singles and two walks while striking out seven. Gibson, who missed his previous start because of back stiffness, left after 95 pitches.

Only two Royals reached second base off Gibson, who walked left fielder Alex Gordon and third baseman Mike Moustakas in the fifth. In the sixth, right fielder Nori Aoki walked and stole second. Gibson, who gave up six runs on nine hits while losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in his previous start, July 18, needed only four pitches to retire the Royals in seventh.

Casey Fien replaced Gibson and threw a scoreless eighth inning. Glen Perkins gave up a run in the ninth but logged his 26th save in 29 opportunities.

Second baseman Omar Infante led off the ninth with a double and scored on first baseman Eric Hosmer’s single for the lone Kansas City run.

Royals right-hander James Shields, who won only one of his six July starts, left after six innings and a season-high 123 pitches, three shy of his career high. Shields (9-6) gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits, four walks and a hit batter. He struck out five.

Shields also took a line drive off his buttocks on a smash by right fielder Sam Fuld in the third inning, but he remained in after manager Ned Yost and a trainer visited him.

Shields is 0-3 in three starts against the Twins this season, but eight of the 14 runs he allowed were unearned.

The Twins broke through for a run in the third when left fielder Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly drove in center fielder Danny Santana, who led off the inning with a bunt single.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, however, failed to make it through the inning. After Gardenhire lost a challenge that left fielder Alex Gordon trapped Chris Parmelee’s liner to end the third, he complained to plate umpire Ted Barrett and was quickly ejected.

The Twins made it 2-0 in the fifth when second baseman Brian Dozier’s double to left scored Santana, who doubled with two out and stopped at third on Fuld’s fly ball single to shallow left.