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Updated: September 8th, 2010 9:29pm
Twins beat Greinke for the fourth time in 4-3 win over Royals

Twins beat Greinke for the fourth time in 4-3 win over Royals

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, the Minnesota Twins showed once again that they own Zack Greinke this season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was cruising along fine until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Twins suddenly strung together a two-out rally.

Jose Morales started things off with a two-out walk. J.J. Hardy followed with a single to right field -- the first Twins hit of the game to that point. Matt Tolbert then delivered a base hit to right field, scoring Morales from third. Hardy moved to third on the play, and Tolbert scurried to second on the throw home. Denard Span capped the rally with a two-run triple down the right field line, putting the Twins up 3-1.

Hardy added a solo homer off Greinke in the bottom of the seventh -- his sixth of the season and first at Target Field -- to make it 4-1.

Greinke's performance wasn't terrible -- he allowed four earned runs in eight innings on five hits and three walks while striking out four -- but he has now faced the Twins four times this season, allowing 20 earned runs (8.18 ERA) on 28 hits and 11 walks in 22 innings. The Royals have lost all four of those games.

"That's why we always say, two-out rallies -- you walk somebody, you always put yourself in trouble," manager Ron Gardenhire said about the fifth inning spurt. "Those free passes can get you no matter what it is. Fortunately for us, we put some good swings out here. J.J. Hardy has been swinging really, really good, and another really good night by him. (Greinke) is tough. You take what you can get off of him."

Twins starter Brian Duensing gave up just one earned run on six hits in eight innings while striking out seven and walking nobody.

Matt Capps made things interesting in the ninth, allowing two runs on a walk and two hits, but he eventually finished things off for his 37th save.

The Twins have now won six games in a row, including back-to-back sweeps over the Rangers and the Royals, and they move 5 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox, who lost their second consecutive game to the Tigers on Wednesday night.

Jim Thome was scratched from the lineup for precautionary reasons with a mild abdominal strain. He's listed as day-to-day.

The Twins have an off day Thursday before heading to Cleveland on Friday for a three-game series with the Indians.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd