MINNEAPOLIS — Samuel Deduno pitched seven sharp innings and one of Justin Morneau's two doubles drove in Minnesota's first run, sending the Twins to a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
Deduno (4-2) gave up only five hits and, more importantly, one walk. He struck out three and let only eight fair balls leave the infield. Jared Burton pitched a scoreless eighth and Glen Perkins notched his 20th save in 22 tries with a scoreless ninth inning despite allowing a walk and a double.
The Twins even managed to beat Jeremy Guthrie (7-6). The right-hander topped them twice earlier this season and brought a 6-2 record over nine previous career matchups into the game.
Guthrie gave up an RBI single to Oswaldo Arcia right after Morneau's big hit in the fourth, but the other run he allowed was unearned.
Salvador Perez's soaring home run, to the second deck in left field, was the only evidence of success by the Royals against the improving Deduno, who last year couldn't find the plate despite showing some potential with his lively right arm.
After shining for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic in March, Deduno has finally found the control of his fastball that escaped him before. His career walks-per-nine-innings ratio was 5.2 entering this game, buoyed by the 53 he issued last season in 79 innings.
In seven starts this year since being called up from Triple-A Rochester, Deduno has completed six innings with three runs or fewer allowed four times.
Following consecutive singles to start the seventh, Deduno had runners at the corners with one out. But he struck out David Lough, celebrating the whiff with a slight hop off the mound at the end of his follow through. Then he got Elliot Johnson to ground out.