After breaking out with a big effort at the plate, the Minnesota Twins could have a difficult time building on the performance without a key member of their lineup.
Red-hot Joe Mauer is uncertain to play as the Twins seek their sixth win in seven home games Wednesday while also trying to deal the Kansas City Royals their first road series loss since late May.
Minnesota (38-44) had four total runs in three games before reaching double digits for the first time since April 11 – also versus Kansas City – in Tuesday’s 10-1 win at Target Field.
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The victory, however, may have been costly after Mauer left in the fifth inning because of a strained muscle in his right side. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run double in the fourth, but was limping as he ran into second base.
The first baseman initially remained in the game before left fielder Chris Parmelee moved to first base for the fifth inning. The Twins said Mauer will be evaluated before Wednesday’s finale.
"I’ve never had this happen before, so I hope it’s a lot sooner than what guys in the past have had," Mauer said. "I’ve been feeling pretty good and getting some results, so it’s bad timing."
Mauer is batting .362 with 12 RBIs over the streak, and has a .375 average with a home run and eight RBIs in his last eight home games against the Royals (43-40).
Teammate Eduardo Nunez went 3 for 5 with a homer Tuesday and Kendrys Morales added three hits to help Minnesota even up this series. Nunez has gone 5 for 9 with three RBIs in two games since missing 14 due to injury.
The Twins, who had a four-game sweep of the visiting Chicago White Sox from June 19-22, are on the verge of winning back-to-back home series for the first time since mid-May.
They’ll try to build on Tuesday’s onslaught against Jason Vargas (7-3, 3.53 ERA). He allowed six runs and nine hits – three homers – over a season-low four innings in Friday’s 8-6 win over the Angels.
Vargas has been solid away from home, going 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in seven starts. One of those outings came at Target Field on April 13, when he did not factor in the decision after giving up two runs over seven innings in a 4-3 loss.
The left-hander, 3-3 with a 4.45 ERA in 10 career starts versus Minnesota, has allowed two runs over 14 innings in his two outings against the Twins in 2014.
Parmelee, batting .486 over a career-best 11-game hitting streak, is 5 for 10 with three doubles versus Vargas.
Kevin Correia (4-9, 5.08) owns a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts, but he’ll try to regroup after allowing four runs over six innings in Friday’s 5-4 loss at Texas.
The right-hander seeks his first career victory against the Royals after going 0-4 with a 5.16 ERA in eight meetings. He’s surrendered eight runs – seven earned – over 13-plus innings in his two outings versus Kansas City in 2014.
Lorenzo Cain has gone 7 for 12 when facing Correia, but Eric Hosmer – who had a season-high four hits Tuesday – is 1 for 13.
Alcides Escobar, 8 for 16 in his last five games, is batting .447 over his previous 14 against the Twins.
The Royals are 11-4 away from home since their last road series loss against the Los Angeles Angels from May 23-25.