Minneapolis Eric Milton gave himself every reason to celebrate Saturday night, but he and his teammates would rather wait for the postseason party.
Milton pitched 62/3 strong innings on his birthday, and David Ortiz drove in four runs as the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 6-2, for their third straight victory.
"It's just another game," said Milton (10-4), who turned 26 on Saturday. "My birthday is secondary.
"I'm sure my wife's got stuff for me at home," he added when asked if there were candles left to blow out. "But, it's another day, another game."
Ortiz and Doug Mientkiewicz both homered for Minnesota, which extended its lead in the AL Central to 11/2 games following Cleveland's 8-5 loss to Seattle.
The Twins improved to 36-19 at home, equaling last year's win total. But, nobody in the clubhouse wanted to look too far ahead.
"We haven't done anything yet," Mientkiewicz said. "We have to win tomorrow."
"We haven't been playing well enough to be complacent," he added. "This team does a good job of not letting yesterday affect today, or today affect tomorrow."
Former Twins player Dave McCarty was 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Royals, who fell to 8-15 since the All-Star break. The Royals are a season-low 24 games under .500.
"This loss hurts more than any other outing," Kansas City starter Kris Wilson said. "It was such an important game after we lost last night."
Milton allowed two runs and seven hits, while striking out four and walking none. He retired the first 11 batters before Carlos Beltran doubled in the fourth.
"I had my good velocity tonight," Milton said. "That was the game plan before the game, to throw hard and in."
"He's got good stuff and he keeps his pitches out of the middle of the plate," McCarty said of Milton.
The Twins left-hander had been struggling, going 0-1 with an 11.17 ERA in his previous two starts. But, he found his pitches early and struck out four of the first seven Royals.
Wilson (5-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. He struck out four and walked two.
"They get paid to hit and they earned their money," Wilson said of the Twins.
"They've got a good ballclub and I admire their character," added Royals manager Tony Muser. "It's tough to fade with good starting pitching."
The Twins scored a run in their first at-bat to take a 1-0 lead. Luis Rivas drew a leadoff walk and stole second before scoring on Ortiz's two-out single.
Kansas City tied it in the fifth on McCarty's RBI single. But, Minnesota quickly reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning on Rivas' RBI single.
Mientkiewicz made it 3-1 with his 14th homer, leading off the sixth. After Corey Koskie doubled, Ortiz hit a 393-foot shot to right to end Wilson's night. It was Ortiz's eighth home run.
Ortiz, who was on the DL for over two months with a fractured right wrist, one-handed a low curveball over the fence.
"I hit it with my broken hand. They must have put something strong in there," Ortiz said, referring to the pin that was inserted into his wrist.
Ortiz also walked with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Notes: Milton became the third Twins pitcher to reach double digits in victories, joining Joe Mays and Brad Radke. ... In his two previous birthday starts, Milton was 1-1 with an 8.38 ERA. ... The Twins won their 22nd series of the year, something they hadn't done since 1992. They have locked up the season series against Central Division opponents, Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit. ... The Royals fell to 11-57 when scoring four runs or less. ... Today, Kansas City will complete its 13-day, 12-game road trip in which the Royals are 5-6. ... McCarty, drafted by Minnesota third overall in 1991, was in a 3-for-40 slump before his RBI single. Eight of his 16 RBIs this season have come against Minnesota. ... Wilson had won his three previous decisions.