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Gordon goes deep early, Volquez finds groove, Royals sweep frustrated Twins with 7-2 victory

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Kansas City Royals reclaimed first place with a resounding three-game sweep on the road of division rival Minnesota.

The Twins were beaten so soundly, well, they lost their shirt.

One of them, at least.

hit a three-run homer, struck out six batters over seven innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Twins 7-2 on Wednesday, a night spiced up in the eighth inning by an ejection of that prompted an equipment-throwing tantrum by the Minnesota star.

"You know what he's trying to do. He's trying to fire everybody up and get 'em going," Kansas City manager said. "They've been in a little slow bat period themselves, and he's trying to get everybody fired up and get 'em going. It's a bit entertaining."

Hunter was heaved by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger for arguing a called third strike. Hunter had to be restrained briefly, before yanking off his elbow pad, shin guard and batting gloves and throwing them around the batter's box area.

Then Hunter ripped off his jersey and hurled that over the first-base line, before retreating to the dugout.

"We have bad days, all of us, as hitters, pitchers. Even umpires have bad days, and he had one," Hunter said.

Hunter has long been a fiery player, but his blow-up likely wouldn't have happened had the Twins not been swept at home for the first time this season. Manager was given his first career ejection during the conflict, too.

Was that satisfying to see for the Royals, who arrived at Target Field on Monday trailing the Twins by one game in the American League Central?

"No, I find satisfaction in winning baseball games. To get out of town sweeping the series, it's a good feeling," Yost said.

The Twins scored 11 runs while stumbling to a 1-5 record on this home-stand. They hadn't been swept since the opening series of the season at Detroit.

Volquez (5-4) pitched the Royals to victory by reaching the seven-inning mark for only the second time in his last nine starts. He scattered seven singles, walking two.

"With our pitching staff, the way they've done it the past three games makes our offense feel comfortable even though we're not scoring a lot of runs," Gordon said.

The Royals went 2-9 over an 11-game stretch until Sunday. Now they've won four in a row.

"You're going to have slumps throughout the season. It's how you respond to it," Gordon said. "We kept our heads up. It was frustrating at times, but we knew we were going to get out of it and play some better baseball, and that's what we're doing now."

(4-4) found a groove after Gordon's big hit, finishing six innings with six strikeouts while allowing five hits and two walks, but he had little help. Plouffe, whose triple in the seventh was Minnesota's only hit against the night before, homered off in the eighth.

Gibson had a 2.03 ERA in the five previous starts of his career against the Royals, and he was in command again.

Except for that first inning.

's single drove in the first run. With two outs and a full count, Gibson left enough of a changeup over the plate for Gordon to drive it into the right-field seats for a 4-0 lead. The Royals stretched their lead with two of their three unearned runs in the seventh against , including an RBI single by .

TRAINER'S ROOM

Kansas City: The Royals must decide on Thursday whether to keep or return Aaron Kratz as catcher 's backup, when Kratz's rehabilitation assignment for a foot injury expires.

Minnesota: Shortstop went 1 for 3 with a walk in his season debut and was charged with one of three errors by the Twins. He was returned to Double-A Chattanooga after the game. Outfielder is expected from paternity leave on Friday.

UP NEXT

Kansas City: The Royals start a three-game intrastate, interleague series against St. Louis after a day off. (3-5, 4.62 ERA) will pitch for the Royals on Friday, opposite (1-3, 2.67 ERA) of the Cardinals.

Minnesota: After an off day, the Twins travel to Texas for a three-game series. (2-1, 4.55 ERA) will start on Friday for the Twins against fellow (3-2, 3.25 ERA) of the Rangers.

PHOTO: Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon hits a three-run home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon hits a three-run home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Kansas City Royals pitcher Jason Frasor celebrates the final out as the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 in a baseball game, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Minneapolis. The Royals swept the three-game series. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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