Tim Teufel's third-inning RBI double, lost in the lights by shortstop Buddy Biancalana, started the Minnesota Twins on their way to a 7-3 defeat of the Kansas City Royals tonight. That ended Kansas City's five-game winning streak and tied the teams for first place in the American League West Division at 73-70.
Winning pitcher Mike Smithson (14-12) threw an eight-hitter, striking out six and walking two in his ninth complete game.
"I don't know what it is about this team, but people keep writing us off, but we stay loose and here we are and this is what baseball's all about," said Smithson.
Two of Kansas City's hits were home runs -- Steve Balboni's 24th, in the seventh, and Frank White's 16th, in the eighth. It was Balboni's third homer in four games; of his last seven hits, five are home runs.
Tim Laudner drew a walk off starter Mark Gubicza (10-12) leading off the Twins' third inning and moved to third one out later on Kirby Puckett's single to center.
Teufel hit a high fly that Biancalana lost track of and the ball fell, Laudner scoring and Puckett advancing to third. Mickey Hatcher then hit a fly to right, scoring Puckett for a 2-0 lead.
With one out in the Twins' fifth, Puckett singled to center, stole second and scored on Kent Hrbek's single to right, giving the Twins a 3-0 advantage.
Willie Wilson singled to open the Royals' sixth, stole second and moved to third when catcher Laudner's throw went into center field. One out later, Darryl Motley singled home Wilson.
The Twins got six straight singles in the eighth to score four runs. Pat Putnam, Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, pinch hitter Darrell Brown, pinch hitter Randy Bush and Puckett had the hits.
Twins Manager Billy Gardner was ejected for arguing in the eighth inning when Wilson was called safe for an infield single.
"If it was close, it should've gone in our favor," Gardner said. "I lost $250 (fine), my wife's blood pressure went up."