KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Alex Gordon has been battling most of the season to raise his average above .200. Now he is the hottest hitter on the American League's hottest team.
Gordon hit a grand slam, Dillon Gee pitched seven strong innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 8-1 on Thursday night.
The Royals have won five straight and eight of nine to move above .500 for the first time since July 22. Royals starting pitchers have a 1.61 ERA in the five-game winning streak, allowing 23 hits and six earned runs in 33 2-3 innings, while striking out 27 and walking seven.
Gordon, who was hitting .199 with 16 RBIs on Aug. 9, extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games, hiking his average to .219. Gordon has homered in three consecutive games.
''I was probably trying to do too much, trying to get out of a slump, which it's hard not to do,'' Gordon said. ''I'm just trying to stay with the basics and put together good at-bats and luckily it's been happening a little bit more lately.''
Gee (5-6) picked up the Royals' first victory from a No. 5 starter since May 31. The Royals are 9-21 is games started by the fifth starter.
''I felt like I was throwing everything pretty good tonight,'' Gee said. ''I had command of the off-speed stuff and the fastball command got better throughout the game. I just felt like a lot more free and easy. The curveball was good, the slider was good. It was just a good night.''
Gee, who is 3-6 in 10 starts, gave up a home run to Brian Dozier on his third pitch. It was Dozier's 14th career leadoff homer and his 27th for the season. He has homered in five straight games against the Royals.
That was the only run Gee would allow as he limited the Twins to four singles after the home run, walked one and struck out seven. Gee's seven innings were a season high.
''He didn't throw too many heaters,'' Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman said. ''He really kept us off balance, threw his off-speed for strikes. That was a key for him.''
Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey (8-9) retired the first 10 hitters, but only one of the final seven batters he faced before being removed by manager Paul Molitor. After Cheslor Cuthbert's single with one out in the third, Duffey walked three and hit a batter with Gordon's third career grand slam punctuating the inning. Duffey was replaced by Michael Tonkin after 3 2-3 innings, allowing five runs.
''I think I tried to adjust by being better, and ultimately being worse,'' Duffey said. ''Just kind of missing arm side with a fastball, then I end up yanking a curveball and then the one that Gordon hit out wasn't necessarily a good pitch to hit. It just went right into his swing path. And then, giving up a grand slam, that's what happens when you walk a guy and hit a guy. That's a really good lineup. I gave them some chances and they took full advantage of it.''
The Royals added three runs in the eighth with Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer both driving in a run. The other run scored on a throwing error by center fielder Eddie Rosario.
Cuthbert had three of the Royals' seven hits, bringing his hit total to 100, which ranks second among AL rookies.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas, who has not pitched this season after Tommy John surgery in July 2015, made his third rehab start Wednesday, giving up three runs and four hits, including two home runs, in 2 1-3 innings for Northwest Arkansas against Corpus Christi. He threw 42 pitches, 27 for strikes, while striking out one and walking none.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios yielded six runs, eight hits and a walk in two innings in his previous start, a 15-7 loss to Houston.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three 2016 starts against the Twins.