The Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals will square off twice today to settle the middle portion of their four-game series at Target Field.
Luis Mendoza tossed a career-high eight innings and only allowed one run to lead the Royals to a 4-3 victory on Friday in the opening game of the series. Kansas City went into the final inning ahead 4-1 and Jonathan Broxton picked up the save after surrendering two runs.
The Royals' offense in the victory was highlighted by catcher Salvador Perez's solo home run. Alex Gordon and Yuniesky Betancourt each hit doubles and collected multi-hit games. Designated hitter Billy Butler hit safely for the fifth straight game and reached base on balls three times on Friday.
Winners of three straight on the road, the Royals have batted .335 with 11 homers while scoring 33 runs in the last five games overall. Shortstop Alcidis Escobar is batting .424 in his last 18 games.
Jonathan Sanchez will toe the rubber in the first game of the doubleheader today for the Royals. The left-hander struggled in his last appearance as he gave up six earned runs, two home runs, and walked six batters in 5 2/3 innings versus the Cardinals on Sunday. Sanchez has not earned a winning decision since April 8. He's 1-3 on the season with a 6.21 ERA.
Right-hander Luke Hochevar will take the mound for the Royals in the second part of the twinbill. Hochevar was excellent on Monday, shutting out the Rays to give him 16 2/3 scoreless innings over his last two starts. The righty is now 5-7 with a 5.07 ERA.
The Twins struggled to generate runs until the ninth inning on Friday.
"We hit some balls hard," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Willingham hit the ball right at the guy. We needed that one to get through there somehow or another."
Ben Revere, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau all went 2-for-4 at the plate in the losing effort. Mauer also hit a double and drove in a run. The star catcher has now hit safely in six straight games.
The Twins have struggled to get outs all season long. They are ranked second to last in the MLB with a team ERA of 5.02.
Minnesota will send out southpaw Scott Diamond for the first game of the day. Diamond delivered a strong performance on Sunday versus the Reds, as he held Cincinnati to three runs and eight hits over a season-high eight innings. He also fanned seven batters and allowed just one walk in the contest. The left- hander is 6-3 with a 2.67 ERA this season.
Cole De Vries will pitch the second game for Minnesota. The right-hander was recently called up from Triple-A Rochester for the second time this season. He went 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts for the Twins in his first stint in the majors this season. De Vries is hoping to make a longer stay in the big leagues this time around.
"I feel a little more comfortable with the situation, because last time there were a lot of firsts going on, and it's kind of a roller coaster of emotions," De Vries said. "I've been through a lot of those first situations now; second and third situations are a little easier to manage."
The season series between these teams is now tied 3-3. Minnesota hasn't lost a season series to Kansas City since 2003.