MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire expects a lot from his pitchers, and even he's impressed by Joe Mays' comeback from right elbow surgery.
Mays pitched eight sharp innings and the Twins beat Kansas City 3-1 Monday night, sending the Royals to their seventh consecutive loss.
"Here's a guy who hadn't pitched in a couple years," Gardenhire said. "It's a bonus to have him out there because we didn't even know we'd have him back."
Mays (4-3) allowed six hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter for Minnesota, which won consecutive games for first time since taking three in a row June 5-8. The right-hander had been winless in six starts since shutting out the Blue Jays 4-0 on May 19.
"It's huge," Mays said. "Today I finally got back to attacking the strike zone and putting the hitters in a defensive mode."
Mays was an All-Star for Minnesota in 2001, but after signing a four-year contract following that season he began to have elbow problems. He went 4-8 in 2002, 8-8 in 2003 and missed the 2004 season following ligament replacement surgery.
"If he can keep locating like tonight, he'll be fine," Gardenhire said.
Joe Nathan worked a scoreless ninth for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.
David DeJesus homered and Emil Brown extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games for the Royals, who are 0-7 on their nine-game road trip. Kansas City has scored just 21 runs on the trip.
Zack Greinke (1-9) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. The Royals fell to 3-13 in his starts.
"I've still got a ways to go," Greinke said. "I'm still not winning."
The Twins scored twice in the second inning. Torii Hunter hit a one-out single and advanced to second on Greinke's errant pickoff attempt. Jacque Jones followed with an RBI single and went to second on the throw home.
Jones stole third on the next pitch and scored on Lew Ford's sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
"That was really bad," Greinke said about not keeping Jones close at second. "It was a stupid thing to do. They warned us before the game he'll steal third."
The Royals had a great chance in the seventh when Brown led off with a single and John Buck hit a two-out double to put runners on second and third. But Mays induced Shane Costa to ground out.
Kansas City finally scored in the eighth on DeJesus' 427-foot shot off Mays, his fourth homer.
Glenn Williams added an RBI single off Jimmy Gobble in the bottom half, making it 3-1.
"The way we're scoring runs, you have to be perfect," Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
The Twins also played solid defense all around, making several diving plays in the infield and outfield.
"It's tremendous out there when they are on their toes," Mays said. "I got to give them all the credit."
The Twins improved to 4-24 when they score three or fewer runs. ... Williams has hit safely in all 12 games to start his career. ... Twins relievers snapped a seven-game streak of allowing at least one run. ... Brown is batting .393 (22-for-56) during his hitting streak.