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Vargas aims to stay sharp, secure series win over Twins

(SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Vargas will try to lock down a series win for the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in the finale of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins.

The left-handed Vargas is coming off his first shutout of the season and sixth of his career as he held Oakland to three hits in Wednesday's 3-0 win. He struck out four and did not walk a batter for a third straight outing.

Vargas was making his third start since undergoing an appendectomy and retired the final 23 batters faced to improve to 9-5 with a 3.27 earned run average on the season.

"He was pretty good and got back to being who he was," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Vargas. "He was dynamic and was in complete control."

The 31-year-old is 4-3 with a 3.90 earned run average in 12 previous meetings -- 11 starts -- with the Twins, who counter with youngster Trevor May.

The 24-year-old May has had a rough start to his major league career, going 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in two games with one start.

He made his debut and first career start on Aug. 9 in Oakland, but lasted only two innings and was charged with four runs on three hits and seven walks in the loss. May then hurled 2 1/3 frames of relief against Houston on Tuesday, with the righty giving up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and two walks.

The Royals have won two of the first three games of this set, claiming a 12-6 win on Sunday. Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer, while both Josh Willingham and Salvador Perez added solo shots.

The Royals did most of their damage in a seven-run second inning that knocked Twins left-hander Tommy Milone out of the game in the shortest start of his career.

Making his second appearance for the Twins since being acquired from Oakland, Milone recorded just four outs.

Jeremy Guthrie went seven innings for the Kansas City, remaining in the game to get the win despite sitting out a 54-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth. The right-hander gave up four runs on five hits and two walks and had seven strikeouts.

Guthrie, an 11-year veteran, has a knack for shaking off long delays anyway, according to manager Ned Yost said.

"It just seems like every time we have these types of games he's on the mound," Yost said. "He just does a great job of staying loose ... so when he goes back on the mound he takes like nine pitches and he's ready to go."

The Royals improved to 15-3 in their last 18 games. The AL Central leaders, 1 1/2 games up on Detroit, bounced back after having a five-game road winning streak snapped in a 4-1 loss on Saturday.

Kennys Vargas had three hits, including a two-run homer, and knocked in three runs for the Twins. Oswaldo Arcia also had a two-run homer and Joe Mauer added a solo blast.

The Royals have won eight of 15 versus the Twins this season.

08/18 10:49:05 ET