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Twins keep scoring, rally to dump Royals

Minnesota Twins center fielder Max Kepler (26) hits an RBI single against the Kansas City Royals during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, June 21. Jay Biggerstaff / USA TODAY Sports1 / 3
Minnesota Twins right fielder Jake Cave (60) catches a fly ball against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, June 21. Jay Biggerstaff / USA TODAY Sports2 / 3
Minnesota Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop (16) is congratulated after scoring against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, June 21. Jay Biggerstaff / USA TODAY Sports3 / 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Max Kepler's RBI single in the eighth helped Minnesota erase the second of a pair of three-run deficits as the Twins defeated the host Kansas City Royals 8-7 on Friday night.

The Twins avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.

The Royals lead the major leagues with 26 losses in games in which they held the lead at some point. They have been outscored 177-125 after the sixth inning this season.

Right-hander Ryne Harper (3-0), the Twins' third pitcher, picked up the win, despite allowing a run on two hits in his one inning. Taylor Rogers picked up his ninth save in 11 chances. Jake Diekman (0-5) took the loss for Kansas City.

For the second straight game, the Royals got three runs in the first inning, though two were unearned.

Cheslor Cuthbert's double scored Nicky Lopez. With two outs, Humberto Arteaga rolled a grounder to short, but Jorge Polanco's throw pulled C.J. Cron off the bag and Jorge Soler scored. Martin Maldonado then singled against the shift to score Cuthbert.

Cron led off the second with a 424-foot home run to center, his 16th homer of the season, to put the Twins on the board.

The Twins tied it in the fifth with two outs, including one unearned run. Eddie Rosario's two-out single scored Jonathan Schoop and sent Nelson Cruz to third. Rosario then stole second, and an errant throw by the catcher, Maldonado, allowed Cruz to score the tying run.

The Royals answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a three-run home run by Cuthbert, his fourth of the season.

The Twins got two runs in the seventh, as Scott Barlow gave up three straight singles, including a two-run hit to Cruz. But Wily Peralta replaced Barlow and retired the next three batters to squelch that rally.

Miguel Sano homered to lead off the Twins' eighth inning, and they added runs on Kepler's single and another single from Rosario.

The Royals got a run back in the bottom of the eighth on Soler's 21st home run.

Cheslor Cuthbert tied career highs with three hits four RBIs.