Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit back-to-back homers during a four-run sixth inning, Heath Fillmyer pitched into the eighth and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on Thursday night.
The loss by the Twins, who occupy second place in the woeful AL Central, reduced the division-leading Cleveland Indians' magic number to two.
The Royals were hitless until Hunter Dozier greeted Alan Busenitz, the Twins' third pitcher in the game, with a leadoff double to left field in the sixth.
Perez followed with a 420-foot drive to left field to put the Royals ahead 3-2, and then Bonifacio hit one into the Twins' bullpen off Busenitz (4-1), who didn't record an out. Adalberto Mondesi added an RBI single as the Royals sent 10 batters to the plate.
Fillmyer (3-1) worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and matching his career high with six strikeouts. In his previous start, the Twins bludgeoned him for six runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Fillmyer left in the eighth with runners on the corners, both of whom eventually scored against relievers Brian Flynn and Brandon Maurer.
Jerry Vasto got the last out in the eighth, and Wily Peralta worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 11 opportunities.
Jake Cave put the Twins ahead in the second with a two-run homer, his 11th of the season.
The Twins went with a bullpen day, opening with Gabriel Moya, who worked two scoreless innings. Stephen Gonsalves pitched the next three, allowing no hits but walking four, and the last of those walks turned into a run in the fifth when Whit Merrifield scored on an error by shortstop Jorge Polanco.
Merrifield singled, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on Alex Gordon's fielder's choice for an eighth-inning insurance run.
Royals: OF Brett Phillips (shoulder) remains available as a pinch runner, but hasn't been fully cleared.
Rays: C Mitch Garver (head) woke up with a headache after taking a foul ball off the facemask on Wednesday. Manager Paul Molitor said Garver has a history of concussions, but isn't showing any symptoms and was held out Thursday as a precaution. ... 3B Miguel Sano (lower left leg) has resumed running, taking ground balls and working in the batting cage. Molitor declined to put a timetable on a possible return. ... DH Eddie Rosario returned after re-aggravating a quad injury he initially suffered on Aug. 30.
Royals RHP Jorge Lopez (2-4, 3.72), who took a perfect game into the ninth inning last Saturday at Minnesota, will face Twins RHP Jose Berrios (11-11, 3.83) in the second game of the four-game set.