MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals left-hander Jason Vargas considers himself a lucky man: Not because he threw six shutout innings in a much-needed 3-1 win over the Twins on Monday night.
Vargas felt fortunate afterward because he survived a vicious shot back at the mound off the bat of Aaron Hicks that struck him right in the groin. Luckily, Vargas got some glove on the ball first. He then recovered, grabbed the ball and threw out Hicks.
"I was feeling better right afterward," Vargas said. "Definitely lucky. There's no other way to chalk it up than pure luck. It definitely hit me where you don't want to get hit. Definitely lucky to be standing up right now talking to you because I did get a little bit of glove on it."
Vargas was in command throughout, allowing just five singles and no walks.
"His ball to strike ratio was 3-to-1," manager Ned Yost said. "He was locating the ball really well."
Vargas' biggest pitch was a first-pitch changeup to Torii Hunter in the third inning with one out and the bases loaded. Hunter tapped into a 6-4-3 double play.
"It was huge to keep those innings from getting extended," Vargas said. "With Torii, he's such an intelligent hitter, you have to constantly mix up the looks for him."
Vargas left after throwing just 70 pitches in his third start back from the disabled list.
"I was feeling a little fatigued," Vargas said. "We got a good group of guys down there [in the bullpen]. No reason to take a chance of regressing to where I had to sit out before. And they did come in and finish off the game.
"I felt like we were in good position. We had gotten through the sixth in good shape."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.