KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Minnesota Twins knew Detroit, Chicago, New York and Boston had already won Friday night and they were trailing the last-place Kansas City Royals by two runs in the ninth inning.
Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer hit home runs in the ninth to tie it and Jason Bartlett scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 10th as the Twins rallied for an 8-5 victory.
"You have to do it this time of year," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Everybody is looking at the scoreboard. I think every team that we're in this race with won. You've got to find ways to win and this ball team is pretty resilient."
Six Royals pitchers walked 12 and Scott Dohmann's wild pitch in the 10th was the staff's 64th this season which leads the major leagues.
Dohmann (0-1), who was acquired in a trade Monday with Colorado, gave up a leadoff single in the 10th to Bartlett. After he was sacrificed to second, there was another out before Dohmann walked Mauer intentionally and Cuddyer unintentionally to load the bases. He then threw the wild pitch to break the tie and Torii Hunter's single scored Mauer and Cuddyer.
"Bottom line is win ballgames," Cuddyer said. "It doesn't matter how you do it. If it is ugly, pretty, come-from-behind, stay out with the lead the whole time, however it is, win. Tonight we did that. It wasn't a pretty one, but we got the victory and that's what we needed."
The Royals took a 5-3 lead into the ninth, but closer Ambiorix Burgos could not hold it, giving up home runs to Mauer, who leads the majors with a .365 average, and Cuddyer, the first two batters he faced. It was Burgos' 10th blown save in 26 opportunities.
"I pitched behind in the count," Burgos said. "It's no way to pitch. They were right in the middle, not up or down."
Mauer hit a 3-1 pitch out to right. Three pitches later Cuddyer hit a line drive out to left.
"I was able to get in a good hitter's count, 2-0," Cuddyer said. "I could sit on one pitch, in one place and fortunately I got it and I didn't miss it. I was definitely looking for a fastball. I was fortunate to get it in a zone that I could handle it and put a good swing on it. I didn't think that was going to be out. I didn't think that was high enough to be a homer, especially in this park. I thought it was going to be off the wall."
The Twins have won six straight road games for the first time since April 26-May 8, 2005.
Left-hander Dennys Reyes (3-0) worked two-thirds of an inning for the victory, while Joe Nathan pitched the 10th for his 23rd save in 24 chances.
Twins starter Johan Santana, who was 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his previous eight starts against the Royals, gave up four runs and four hits, all in the Royals' fourth. He struck out eight, hiking his major league-leading total to 168.
"It's going to happen some time," Santana said of the one bad inning. "You are doing your job and all of a sudden one inning and a couple of pitches changes the whole game. You've got to give credit to them. They put a good effort in that inning and took the lead. We missed a couple of pitches. I threw back-to-back changeups to John Buck and he was able to put it in play. They hit the ball to the right spot, where no one was there."
Buck, who was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts previously against Santana, singled to left on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Emil Brown and Ryan Shealy to put the Royals ahead 4-3. Brown and Esteban German also had RBI-singles in the fourth.
"We had him beat and we let them back in it," Buck said. "We shot ourselves in the foot again."
Santana struck out six over the first three innings and did not allow a hit until Mark Grudzielanek led off the fourth with a single.
"The Royals did something we haven't seen too many teams do, that's come back on Santana and score four runs in an inning on him," Gardenhire said. "That was pretty amazing in itself. Then we come back in the ninth and hit back-to-back homers to tie the game up off a guy throwing 96 miles per hour. You just flip a coin after that." The coin flipped the Twins' way.
"We played a good game up to the ninth," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "You can't pitch behind in the count against those guys."
Mark Redman, the Royals' lone representative in the All-Star game, pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, five hits and five walks, which matched his season high. Redman, who threw just 50 strikes in 101 pitches is 7-2 since June 4 after starting the season 0-4.
Justin Morneau's double in the third scored Nick Punto and Cuddyer, who both walked, and Bartlett, who led off the inning with a single. Morneau increased his RBI total to 94, second in the American League. Morneau reached base six times with two doubles and four walks.
With two outs in the eighth, Brown doubled and scored on Shealy's single.
The Royals are 83-140 since Bell was named manager on May 31, 2005. ... Twins OF Lew Ford, who is on the DL with a right oblique strain, has been sent to Triple-A Rochester for an injury rehab assignment. ... Grudzielanek's 11-game hitting streak matches the longest by a Royal this season and is his longest since a 13-game streak from May 29-June 11, 2001, with the Dodgers.