Following a successful homestand, the Kansas City Royals will try to pick up their first road win by adding to their recent dominance over the Minnesota Twins.
With help from left-hander Bruce Chen, Kansas City looks to earn a franchise-best eighth consecutive victory in Minnesota and 19th in 24 overall matchups Friday night.
The Royals opened the season by dropping a pair of games at defending AL Central champion Detroit before winning four of six at home. They took two of three from Tampa Bay with a 7-3 victory Wednesday.
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Alex Gordon’s homer drove in three of Kansas City’s five runs in the fifth inning.
"It was a great homestand for us," manager Ned Yost told the team’s official website. "We came in here after two real close losses at Detroit where we could’ve won either game and put together a 4-2 homestand."
The Royals (4-4) will seek some better results on the road while adding to Minnesota’s early woes. The Twins (3-6) were swept in three games by Oakland in their first series at Target Field and had a season-low three hits while failing to score at least two runs for the first time in Thursday’s 6-1 defeat.
The Twins will next take on the team that won 15 of 19 against them last season. The Royals claimed eight of 10 road matchups and outscored their division rivals 44-18 in winning the final seven of those games.
Chen earned the win in the last visit to Minnesota on Aug. 29 in his only start against the Twins in 2013. He gave up one run over 5 2-3 innings in a 3-1 victory.
Chen allowed one run, scattered seven hits and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings in his season debut Saturday, but he didn’t receive a decision in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.
"That’s the Bruce Chen we’ve always known," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "That’s the way he’s been. He gets guys frustrated out there and hits his spots all the time, mixes speeds up and he’s pounding strikes."
Chen will be opposed by right-hander Kyle Gibson, who also had a promising first start Saturday. He yielded one run and three hits over five innings in a 7-3 victory in Cleveland.
"I think I need to show I’m ready to make that next step. And I want to," Gibson told the team’s official website. "My expectations for myself this year are really high. And to reach those expectations, I’ve got to work really hard, make those adjustments that I have in the works."
Gibson, a first-round pick in 2009, earned a win over Kansas City in his major league debut June 29. He gave up two runs over six innings and struck out five in a 6-2 victory at Target Field.
Jason Kubel will try to help Gibson in this matchup by adding to a five-game hitting streak. Kubel, batting .524 with five RBIs during that span, is 6 for 14 (.429) with a homer and two doubles against Chen.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will miss the first two games of this series to go to Ohio for Saturday’s funeral of Michael Hirschbeck, son of umpire John Hirschbeck. Terry Steinbach will manage the team in Gardenhire’s place.