Twins-Royals Preview

Despite adding more stars to the injured list, the Minnesota
Twins found a way to snap another losing streak. They’d like Carl
Pavano to do what it takes to end his winless stretch.

After a decisive win in the opener of a four-game series, the
Twins hope Pavano can lead them to a second straight victory over
the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

Saddled with a four-game skid coming into play Thursday, the
major league-worst Twins (18-37) added Jim Thome (quadriceps) and
Jason Kubel (foot) to an expanding disabled list. Minnesota is
already without Joe Mauer (leg), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (leg), Glen
Perkins (oblique), Kevin Slowey (abdomen), Joe Nathan (arm) and
Francisco Liriano (shoulder).

“There’s not much we can do about it. Other guys will have to
step up. It’s not the same team we thought we had in spring
training. We’ll just have to find ways to win with the guys we’ve
got,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Minnesota responded with a six-run third inning and cruised to
an 8-2 victory. Michael Cuddyer got things started with a
run-scoring double and Denard Span, Matt Tolbert and Rene Rivera
added RBI singles. The Twins’ other runs came on a throwing error
and a wild pitch.

“Our offense had one big inning, which was huge, a lot of big
hits,” Gardenhire said.

Now, Pavano (2-5, 5.19 ERA) needs to step up. Since winning on
April 24, the right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA in six
starts.

Pavano’s woes started May 1, when he allowed seven runs and a
season-high 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings of the Twins’ 10-3 loss to
Kansas City.

He lasted a season high-tying eight innings Sunday, but yielded
five runs and 10 hits in a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Since joining the Twins in an August 2009 trade from Cleveland,
Pavano is 4-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts at Kauffman
Stadium.

One player always happy to see Pavano is Billy Butler, whose 16
hits in 35 at-bats are the most in his career against any pitcher.
Butler went 0 for 3 Thursday, ending his six-game hitting
streak.

Jeff Francoeur had two run-scoring doubles and a triple for
Kansas City (25-31), which fell to 2-2 on its season-high 11-game
homestand. Sean O’Sullivan failed to get out of the third inning
and is 0-3 with a 13.25 ERA in his last four starts.

”The last thing you want to see is your starting pitcher come
out after 2 2-3 innings,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.

Rookie Danny Duffy (0-0, 4.11) has been consistent since being
recalled from Triple-A Omaha on May 18, but has yet to receive a
decision thorough his first three starts for the Royals.

The left-hander hasn’t given up more than three runs and five
hits in any game. He surrendered two homers among five hits in six
innings of Sunday’s 7-6 loss to Texas.

Duffy will be making his first appearance against Minnesota.