KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Joe Mauer made manager Ron Gardenhire's idea look like a stroke of genius.
Gardenhire, seeking to boost Minnesota's offense, decided to bat Jacque Jones in the cleanup position Tuesday night, hoping to get Mauer a few more good pitches to look at. All Mauer did was hit a single, double and triple and lead the Twins to a 7-4 victory over Kansas City.
"It was one of those nights I was seeing it well," said Mauer, who scored twice and had two RBI. "Maybe it had something to do with Jacque moving behind me. I had a couple of good at-bats. But tonight it felt good, felt comfortable at the plate."
He had a triple in the first inning, a single in the third and a double in the sixth, all off Jose Lima (5-13). Needing a home run for the cycle, he grounded out in the seventh and bounced hard into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth.
He admitted he did take one home run hack.
"It was a good pitch. I just fouled it back," he said. "But I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere. I hit it hard, but both times right at people."
Justin Morneau hit a towering three-run homer off Jimmy Gobble to cap a five-run sixth inning and send the Twins to their 11th victory in 14 games against the Royals this season.
Carlos Silva (9-6) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits and didn't walk a batter. The right-hander has pitched 180 1/3 innings and allowed only six unintentional walks, tops in the majors. His ERA dropped to 3.37.
Kansas City again hurt itself with fundamental mistakes, two on the base paths.
"Some of the things we do fundamentally, just the intangibles, it's just incredible at this level," manager Buddy Bell said. "I have a hard time watching it sometimes. There's no question we have people on this team who are going to be here when we're good. But right now there's a lot of things they need to learn."
Morneau, who came in on a 2-for-21 slide, hit a 3-2 pitch from Gobble an estimated 423 feet.
Lima, trying for his first two-game winning streak of the season, went 5 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and seven hits.
"Mauer was the guy who hurt me," Lima said. "He's a good hitter and right now he's seeing the ball like it's a big trash can."
The Royals had hit only four home runs in their last 14 games but got their first two runs on solo shots. John Buck led off the third with his eighth homer and Matt Stairs homered with two outs in the fourth.
Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 34th save, but the game ended when Terrence Long hit a drive to the warning track in right with two runners on.
"I hate to think where that ball would have been in the Metrodome," Gardenhire said.
In the seventh, Silva hit Buck with a pitch and gave up a single to Joe McEwing. Former Twin Denny Hocking grounded a two-out, two-run single up the middle to make it 7-4.
Nick Punto reached on a fielder's choice in the first and scored on the triple by Mauer, who scored on Lew Ford's double.
Mauer had an RBI double in the sixth and then scored on Jones' single. Ford was hit with a pinch, then with two outs Gobble came in and served up Morneau's 18th homer.
Minnesota's Matthew LeCroy singled in the eighth to break an 0-for-17 skid.
The Royals recalled OF Matt Diaz from Triple-A Omaha and optioned RHP Jonah Bayliss to Double-A Wichita. Diaz hit .250 in two earlier stints this year with KC. ... Royals CF David DeJesus, who made a spectacular catch but injured his shoulder Sunday in New York, missed his second straight game. ... Twins OF Shannon Stewart took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since he strained his left shoulder banging into a wall last Tuesday. He is expected back either Wednesday or Thursday. ... The Royals, who had a 19-game losing streak, are 4-21 in August.