Punto drives in winning run as Twins win in 10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Nick Punto made good on his second

chance.

After striking out in the eighth inning with a runner on third,

Punto hit a two-run double in the 10th inning to lead the Minnesota

Twins over the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Monday night.

"Early in the game, I left a man on third base with less than

two out," Punto said. "That's not very much fun."

Shawn Camp (1-4) walked Jason Bartlett and Michael Ryan with one

out in the 10th and Punto, in a 2-for-17 slide, doubled to the gap

in left-center.

"He throws a hard sinker," Punto said. "Fortunately, I got

one up in the zone and hit it where nobody is. It worked out for

us. You're not taking pitches, but looking for a pitch you can

handle, something over the plate. I got a decent pitch to hit."

Camp has given up runs in 13 of his past 14 appearances.

"I have no excuses," Camp said. "I've always been a control

pitcher and think of myself as a strike thrower. I've never

experienced control problems like today. I didn't make adjustments,

and we all paid for it."

Juan Rincon (6-4) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth

and pitched two scoreless innings. Joe Nathan got three outs for

his 33rd save in 36 chances, completing a five-hitter.

Minnesota, struggling to stay in contention in the AL wild-card

race, had lost four of five coming in. The Twins are 13-6 in

extra-inning games, the most extra-inning wins in the major

leagues.

Kansas City has lost four straight after winning four of five

following a 19-game losing streak. The Royals are 4-20 in August.

After Aaron Guiel's leadoff single in the ninth, Kansas City

loaded the based with two outs, but Angel Berroa hit an

inning-ending grounder.

"You're not going to win a lot of games when you get five hits

and one run," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "Offensively, we've

just struggled more than you'd like to see."

Scott Baker, just promoted from Triple-A Rochester, held the

Royals to one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out

five, walked one and had two double plays turned behind him.

"When I have a good game, that's that I do," Baker said. "I'm

able to get guys out with the fastball. I was able to locate it and

was able to get some guys chase it up. You just want to work ahead

and stay ahead and let the guys get themselves out."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Baker will remain in the

rotation the rest of the season, with Joe Mays going to the

bullpen.

"Baker's been good every time out," Gardenhire said. "He

hasn't had a bad start yet since he's been up here. That's his

third one. He's done his job every time. He hasn't let us down yet.

That's another good performance by him. That's a good pick-me-up

after losing two out of three at Texas.

"Baker was fantastic. He used his breaking ball, his changeup

and had the high fastball working. He located pretty good. He gave

us a great chance to win. It's unfortunate we couldn't score enough

runs for him. Rincon came in and had two good innings for us, got

out of the one, which was huge. Then we finally come up with the

big base hit."

Lew Ford doubled and scored on Michael Cuddyer's two-out single

in the fourth. It was the first time in seven games that the Twins

had scored before the seventh inning.

Emil Brown's two-out RBI double tied the score in the bottom

half following Terrence Long's infield single.

D.J. Carrasco, 0-3 in five starts since July 24, allowed one run

and six hits in five innings.

Kansas City's starting lineup was without Mike Sweeney, who has

lower back problems; David DeJesus, who injured his right shoulder

Sunday making a diving catch; and designated hitter Matt Stairs,

who missed his fourth consecutive start with a strained left

hamstring. Stairs pinch hit in the 10th and hit a game-ending

groundout. Game notes
RHP Runelvys Hernandez, on the Royals' disabled list, had a

MRI exam Monday of his sore shoulder and is to be evaluated

Wednesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. ... Twins rookie DH

Terry Tiffee stole his first career base in the second inning. ...

Mike MacDougal struck out two in a perfect ninth. He has not

allowed an earned run in 20 of his past 23 appearances.