Royals fall to Twins in series opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even after a lengthy replay, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still thinks the call was wrong.

No worry. When he was ejected for arguing the play in the third inning Tuesday night, it gave him a nice vantage point — a flat-screen TV and a comfy chair in the clubhouse — to see Kyle Gibson shut down the Kansas City Royals for seven innings in a tense 2-1 victory.

The play in question was Chris Parmelee’s sinking liner to left field that Alex Gordon appeared to trap while sliding. The umpires ruled it a catch, though, likely saving a run. Gardenhire quickly challenged it, only to be incensed when a review of 3 minutes, 31 seconds let it stand.

He allowed a single by Alcides Escobar in the third inning and another by Nori Aoki in the sixth over seven dazzling innings. Gibson (9-8) was at his best his last inning, too, setting down the Royals in order in the seventh on four seemingly effortless pitches.

Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning and Brian Dozier provided a run-scoring single in the fifth off James Shields (9-6), who battled command all night. He threw 124 pitches — two shy of his career high — while walking four in only six innings.

Gibson, who was shelled by Tampa Bay his last time out, has made a habit of rebounding back from ugly outings. He followed a miserable performance against the Angels with a strong one against Texas, and a lousy start against the Yankees with six shutout innings against Seattle.