KANSAS CITY -- Sometimes, less is more.
That's really the only way to sum up how the injury-ravaged Twins -- minus a bevy of proven offensive weapons -- marched into Kauffman Stadium and pulled off their first four-game sweep since 2007. With left-hander Brian Duensing spinning a six-hit gem through eight innings in hot and humid conditions on Sunday, the Twins gained a 6-0 victory over the Royals in the series finale. They will now head to Cleveland with hopes renewed that the worst is well behind them.
The Twins transformed themselves with a go-go, small-ball identity all weekend. They ran, bunted, moved runners along and got the timely hits. Meanwhile, the Minnesota pitchers allowed just eight runs during the four-game series.
Jason Repko, who started the day hitting .143, was the offensive hero on Sunday. Repko doubled his RBI total for the year with a two-run single in the first and an RBI single that made it 4-0 in the sixth. That was plenty of offense for Duensing and Matt Capps, who worked the ninth.
"You've talking about a guy who's coming off an injury and hasn't had a lot of at-bats," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Repko. "A really good day for him. I'm sure he feels a lot better about himself. It kind of goes without saying that everybody likes to be part of something. That makes him feel like he's part of something. He got in there, got some hits and drove in some runs."
When Duensing finished his warmups in the bullpen, he wasn't exactly in a great frame of mind. He had been battling a cold all week and came in with a five-game losing streak. Furthermore, he couldn't make the baseball go where he wanted durin warmups.
"I was really nervous about how things would go," Duensing said. "Somehow I found it between warming up [in the bullpen] and going to the mound. When the offense put up three runs right away, it gave me some confidence." The Twins (21-37) went right to work against Royals veteran left-hander Jeff Francis in the first. Ben Revere, a catalyst throughout the whole series, started the game with a single. Alexi Casilla bunted to the right side and first baseman Eric Hosmer made an ill-advised throw to second. The ball sailed astray and the runners advanced to second and third on the error.
Michael Cuddyer popped out, but Danny Valencia drew a walk and Delmon Young produced an RBI groundout as the Royals failed to turn an around-the-horn double play. Luke Hughes drew a walk to reload the bases and Repko stroked a two-run single to center.
Duensing was in control throughout. He scattered six hits in his season-high eight innings.
. "A really good performance by Duensing," Gardenhire said. "With the heat out there, to last that long, we thought that was pretty impressive."
When the Twins last came to Kauffman Stadium in late April, they were swept in the three-game series and could hardly have looked worse.
Royals manager Ned Yost now knows how Gardenhire felt then.
"The Minnesota Twins came in here with all their stars gone. And they kicked our butt four straight," Yost said.
Denard Span and Justin Morneau didn't play again on Sunday, so Gardenhire had to improvise with his lineup. The Twins continue to get production from Casilla, who followed Saturday's 4-for-5 performance with a 2-for-3 afternoon.
"We've said all along that people have to step up when other people are down," Gardenhire said. "It's not easy to do, but we moved a few people around. I just like it because we are executing, playing with aggressiveness and also having some fun. It's a much more relaxed atmosphere right now."
Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur saw a Minnesota team this weekend that was weakened but dangerous. Guys who might not ordinarily get a chance to play were hungry to make the most of their opportunities.
"Sometimes that can be the most dangerous team," Francoeur said. "They just go out there and say, 'What the heck'."
Duensing found it inspirational to pitch for a scrappy team that didn't have a lot of name recognition, but found a way to scratch out runs nonetheless.
"We're feeling good right now," Duensing said. "There are a lot more smiles and music is playing in the clubhouse. We're kind of on a roll right now and hopefully it keeps on going."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.