KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals are in unfamiliar territory: a game out of first place in the AL Central.
"It's about time," designated hitter Ken Harvey said. "A lot of us have been swinging the bat well and our pitchers have been getting the job done, too. It's good to see. We're just collectively doing it."
Kansas City beat Minnesota 8-6 on Wednesday night -- the Royals' seventh win in nine games against the defending AL Central champs this season.
Carlos Beltran and Joe Randa had three hits apiece, and Beltran and Michael Tucker each had two RBIs as the Royals won for the eighth time in 11 games. Beltran has seven multihit games in his last nine starts while going 18-for-33 with three doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs.
"It's been so enjoyable to come out to the ballpark and have the fans behind you and really into the games, and have the games mean something," Randa said. "We haven't had that in a long time."
The Twins have been outscored 52-31 during a five-game losing skid, and lost the first three games of the four-game series with Kansas City.
"Now that we've won the first three of this series, it almost puts more emphasis on winning all four," Harvey said. "Why let them up for air?"
Rick Reed (3-7), who came off the 15-day disabled list to make his first start since May 31, was roughed up for nine hits and seven runs in 3 2-3 innings.
"He had good arm strength, his body was fine," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "But he had no location. Everything was up."
In this last time through the five-man rotation, the Twins starters have had an ERA of 12.54.
"We're hitting the ball plenty hard enough to win games, but right now we're not able to stop these guys," Gardenhire said. "They're swinging really good. But we're making them exciting, and that's all I ask."
The Royals' Mike Sweeney was removed in the third inning with stiffness in the upper back.
"It's something I've been battling through for three or four days and it's gotten worse and worse," said Sweeney, who spent the rest of the game getting alternating heat and ice on the back.
"Hopefully, the treatment I got tonight will make me ready to go tomorrow."
Chris George (8-4) went five innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits, walking one and striking out one. He left with the Royals up 7-4 after giving up a leadoff triple to A.J. Pierzynski in the sixth.
Mike MacDougal pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19 opportunities.
Harvey, who had four hits and five RBIs the night before, singled and doubled his first two trips to the plate, giving him five hits and five RBIs in five at-bats.
After third baseman Corey Koskie's fielding error allowed Raul Ibanez to score from third in the second inning, Kansas City scored four in the third on Beltran's RBI single, Harvey's RBI double and a two-run single by Michael Tucker.
Reed, who'd been out with a sore back, got his glove on a hard line drive off Harvey's bad in the second.
"My fastball, I didn't have a clue," he said. "My back's fine but now my thumb hurts. It's a little bruised."
Randa extended his team record to 74 consecutive errorless games at third base and made a diving stop of Doug Mientkiewicz's hard grounder in the fifth, throwing from his knees to second for a force.
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