Poor play at home has made it difficult for the Kansas City
Royals to sustain any success, but coming off a series victory at
Kauffman Stadium, they’ll try to keep things going.
The Royals could have a good chance to do so as they open a
three-game series Monday night against the last-place Minnesota
Twins, who may be without Joe Mauer as they look for a sixth win in
Kansas City is 16-11 on the road, but has the worst home record
in the majors at 7-18. The Royals (23-29), though, won a series at
Kauffman for just the second time in 2012 over the weekend,
shutting out Oakland twice.
Vin Mazzaro and three relievers helped Kansas City bounce back
from Saturday’s 9-3 loss, combining on a seven-hitter Sunday. Eric
Hosmer homered and 2011 Gold Glover Alex Gordon helped preserve a
2-0 victory by throwing a runner out at home after catching a ball
in foul territory in the fifth inning.
“It was definitely a good time of the game for that to happen,”
Gordon said. “It gave us some momentum.”
Gordon also extended his hitting streak to seven games with his
fifth double during a stretch in which he’s hitting .357 (10 for
Kansas City has won six of eight overall, but it won’t be the
only club at Kauffman trying to build on some recent success.
After sweeping Oakland at home last week, Minnesota (20-33) took
two of three in Cleveland, improving to 7-4 in its last 11 road
games with a 6-3 victory Sunday. Scott Diamond allowed three
unearned runs in seven innings, Josh Willingham had a pair of
doubles and Alexi Casilla drove in two.
Mauer, who had an RBI in the first, left in the ninth with a
mild right thumb sprain. The four-time All-Star is hitting .367 the
last 13 games.
“Hopefully I’ll be back in there soon,” Mauer said. “(The
trainers) assured me I’m day-to-day.”
The Royals will certainly be hoping that translates into a
return sometime after Wednesday. Mauer is hitting .457 (42 for 92)
with 24 RBIs in 24 games against Kansas City since 2010, leading
the Twins to a 17-7 record.
Each team will send a rookie to the mound in the opener.
After a tough major league debut, the Royals’ Will Smith (1-1,
6.75 ERA) bounced back his last time out.
The 22-year-old left-hander gave up two runs and four hits in
six innings of an 8-2 win at Cleveland on Tuesday. He failed to
make it out of the fourth in the Bronx six days earlier after
giving up three home runs.
“An amazing feeling,” Smith said of his first victory. “You
think of what it will be like your whole life. Just getting to the
big leagues, and then to win? It’s a dream come true.”
Minnesota will counter with Cole De Vries (0-1, 2.70), who’s
also making his third start. De Vries pitched five scoreless
innings in a 3-2 win over Oakland on Tuesday, giving up two hits
and walking five.
The right-hander allowed six runs – three earned – while
surrendering three homers in a loss to the White Sox five nights