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Associated Press, Published August 06 2013

Albers dazzles in debut as Twins top Royals 7-0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Andrew Albers still remembers exactly what he was thinking about as he drove the 40 hours from Arizona to Florida for one last chance at being a big league ballplayer.

“I just wanted a shot,” he said.

The left-hander made the most of his tryout with the Minnesota Twins that day two years ago, earning a minor league contract.

On Tuesday night, Albers got an even bigger shot at realizing his dreams when he made his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals.

Just like he did back then, Albers made the most of it. He allowed four hits while pitching into the ninth inning, leading the Twins to a 7-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

“It’s hard to put into words, but it was special to go out and have that kind of performance in your debut,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s probably not going to get much better from there.”

The first big leaguer from Saskatchewan in more than 20 years, Albers only allowed a collection of singles to one of the hottest teams in baseball, and at one point retired 15 straight.

He ended up two outs shy of his third straight complete game dating back to his days with Triple-A Rochester, and the first shutout in a big league debut since Detroit’s Andy Van Hekken did it in 2002. Casey Fien wound up finishing it up when Albers began to labor in the ninth inning.

“I didn’t want to go out there and take him out,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, “but he was completely out of gas there at the end. Wow that was fun to watch.”

The Twins took most of the pressure off Albers with a big night at the plate. Brian Dozier homered and drove in three runs, and Justin Morneau and Chris Colabello also went deep.

All that damage came against Shields (6-8), who even balked in a run during his worst start in nearly two years.

The former All-Star gave up three runs in the first inning and never settled down the rest of the evening, laboring through six innings on an uncomfortably humid night.

“Sometimes this can happen,” Shields said, “but I’ve got to do a better job.”

The Twins hammered Shields right from the start. Dozier’s homer was the first leadoff shot for Minnesota since Denard Span went deep against the Phillies on June 12, 2012.

Jamey Carroll promptly worked a walk and Morneau, who came into the game hitting .371 against Shields, added a two-run shot later in the first to stake the Twins to a 3-0 lead.

Minnesota Kansas City

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Dozier 2b 4 1 2 3 L.Cain cf 4 0 0 0

Carroll 3b 4 1 1 0 Hosmer 1b 3 0 2 0

Mauer 1b 4 0 0 0 BButler dh 3 0 0 0

Mornea dh 4 1 1 2 AGordn lf 4 0 0 0

Arcia lf 4 0 0 0 Maxwll rf 3 0 0 0

Colaell rf 4 2 2 1 Mostks 3b 3 0 0 0

CHrmn c 3 2 1 0 MTejad 2b 3 0 0 0

Thoms cf 3 0 1 0 Kottars c 3 0 0 0

Bernier ss 3 0 0 0 AEscor ss 3 0 2 0

Totals 33 7 8 6 Totals 29 0 4 0

Minnesota 310 102 000— 7

Kansas City 000 000 000— 0

E—Shields (1). DP—Minnesota 2. LOB—Minnesota 4, Kansas City 4. 2B—Carroll (6). HR—Dozier (10), Morneau (11), Colabello (3). S—Bernier. SF—Dozier.

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

A.Albers W,1-0 8Zc 4 0 0 1 2

Fien Xc 0 0 0 1 0

Kansas City

Shields L,6-8 6 8 7 7 2 3

W.Smith 3 0 0 0 0 5

HBP—by Shields (Thomas). Balk—Shields.

T—2:33. A—18,924 (37,903).