Preview: Guthrie looks to pitch Royals to eighth-straight victory

BY foxsports • July 31, 2013

The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of their longest undefeated stretch in a decade.

Jeremy Guthrie is one win away from matching a career high.

The veteran right-hander will try to pitch the Royals to an eighth consecutive victory Wednesday night against the Minnesota Twins.

Coming off a sweep over the Chicago White Sox to open their nine-game trip, Kansas City (52-51) won 7-2 on Tuesday to climb above .500 for the first time since it was 20-19 on May 18.

Mike Moustakas' second career two-homer game also helped the Royals improve to 8-3 in this AL Central matchup this season.

"Taking hundreds of swings every day and just trying to get that good feel back," Moustakas said. "Feeling the barrel and today I found it. Keep working and keep building off of this."

Kansas City can now string together eight consecutive wins for the first time since a 9-0 start to 2003.

Guthrie (10-7, 4.27 ERA) has a chance to equal a season high by winning a third straight start after throwing six innings of one-run ball in Thursday's 7-1 victory over Baltimore. He was 2-4 with a 6.05 ERA in his previous seven outings.

"Ten wins is obviously indicative of the way the team is playing," said Guthrie, who went 11-14 for the Orioles in 2010.

He's made three starts against the Twins this season, going 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA. Guthrie was denied a fourth straight winning start in Minneapolis on June 27 when he surrendered three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-1 defeat.

Minnesota (45-58) will counter with Kevin Correia (7-7, 4.56). The right-hander needs a bounce-back effort after lasting a season-low 1 2/3 innings in Thursday's 8-2 loss at Seattle. All six runs he allowed crossed in the second inning - the most runs scored against the Twins in one frame this season.

"It was obviously my worst start of the year," Correia said after his shortest start since going 1 2-3 innings for San Diego on June 6, 2010. "I felt all right. The first half of the second inning I was making good pitches, and then I made a couple bad pitches and they just kept hammering them."

The Royals did that the last time they faced Correia, a 9-8 Kansas City road win June 30 when he was charged with five runs and three walks in five innings.

Joe Mauer has struggled against Kansas City with just nine hits in 47 at-bats, but he had two of Minnesota's five hits Tuesday in his first game in eight days following the birth of twin daughters.

"It felt good to get out there," said Mauer, 6 for 19 with two homers off Guthrie. "I haven't been out there in a while. But I was surprisingly good with the timing at the plate. I'm pleased, I guess, with that."

Justin Morneau, whose name has been mentioned in trade talks leading up to Wednesday's non-waiver deadline, is 8 for 22 with two homers against Guthrie.

Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, a .425 hitter against Twins pitching this season despite Tuesday's 0-for-5 effort, is 1 for 4 with two walks off Correia.

Kansas City's four-game road winning streak is its longest since a five-game run May 12-21, 2012.