Heading to Kansas City has helped the Minnesota Twins end their
woes. The struggling Brian Duensing is hoping a matchup with the
Royals will have the same effect.
The left-hander will try to snap his five-game skid by leading
the Twins to their first four-game sweep of the Royals in nearly
five years Sunday.
Before traveling to Kauffman Stadium, Minnesota had dropped 10
of 12 and started 0-3 on its 10-game road trip. The Twins (20-37)
have turned things around by outscoring the Royals 20-6 over the
last three games, and Saturday’s 7-2 win might have been one of
their more impressive performances.
They produced 13 hits without Justin Morneau and Denard Span in
the lineup. Alexi Casilla matched a career high with four hits and
drove in two runs.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he’ll see how Morneau’s sore
left wrist is feeling Sunday before deciding whether to play the
former MVP. Span’s status is uncertain after the center fielder
hurt his neck while attempting to complete an inside-the-park home
run Friday, colliding with Royals catcher Brayan Pena at the
As Minnesota seeks its first four-game sweep of Kansas City
(25-33) since Aug. 3-6, 2006, Duensing (2-5, 5.37 ERA) tries to
earn his first win since April 23.
Since then, the Twins have lost all seven of his starts as the
left-hander has gone 0-5 with a 7.39 ERA. He didn’t make it out of
a six-run fifth inning in Tuesday’s 8-7 loss to Detroit.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s not very fun, I’ll tell
you that much,” Duensing told the team’s website. “It feels like
every time you come to the ballpark, it’s a new day, but with the
way things are going, for me personally, it’s tough. You used to
come to the ballpark and be excited to be here, but now it’s really
Duensing might have a little more fun Sunday as he’s 3-1 with a
2.53 ERA in five starts against the Royals. However, his current
losing streak began in Kansas City on April 30 despite giving up
three runs – two earned – over seven innings.
The Royals tacked on eight more runs after Duensing left, and
the 11-2 win was part of a three-game sweep. Kansas City, though,
has dropped 25 of 35 meetings with its AL Central rival and 25 of
36 at home.
Duensing will be opposed by Jeff Francis (2-5, 4.46).
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in his last three starts,
including a victory Tuesday as Kansas City beat Los Angeles
After giving up two runs and four hits in the first inning, he
yielded one run and four hits over his final six.
“He’s been through it,” manager Ned Yost said. “He knows it’s
not the end of the world. Especially early in the game when you
give up two runs and we haven’t even hit yet. … It’s just
experience and confidence, knowing if he makes his pitches he’s
going to get through it.”