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Twins hope to avoid sweep against Royals

Staked to an early lead last time out, Minnesota Twins starter Liam Hendriks still failed to pick up his first major league win.

Hendriks hopes to collect that elusive victory on Thursday night when the Twins try to avoid getting swept at home by the Kansas City Royals for the first time in 13 years in the finale of a three-game series.

The right-handed Hendriks has logged an 0-9 record over his 16 career starts, going 0-7 with a 6.20 earned run average in 12 this season.

His offense gave him a four-run lead to work with on Friday against the Cleveland Indians, but Hendriks allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings to not factor into a 7-6 loss.

Minnesota is 3-9 in the 23-year-old's 12 starts this season, while Hendriks has gone 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in two career starts versus the Royals.

Kansas City turns to Luis Mendoza as it tries for its first sweep in Minnesota since taking all four games of a set at the Metrodome from May 7-10, 1999.

Mendoza, though, is 0-1 over his last four starts with a 6.86 ERA and picked up his third straight no-decision on Friday at the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander was charged with five runs on 10 hits, three homers and a walk in 5 1/3 innings of work.

Mendoza is 7-9 with a 4.63 ERA in 26 total appearances this season and the 28- year-old holds a career record of 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four meetings with the Twins, including three starts.

The Royals won their third straight and for the fourth time in five games with Wednesday's 10-5 triumph. Billy Butler paced the offense with three hits and three RBI, while Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez drove in two runs each.

Luke Hochevar earned the win despite allowing five runs on six hits and four walks over five innings. The victory was his first since July 31, snapping a streak of seven straight starts (0-4) without a victory.

"I wanted to get him over that hump," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Hochevar. "He was working hard out there, maybe a little too hard, but he was trying with everything he had to get over that hump. I was bound and determined to give him every opportunity to do it."

Jamey Carroll knocked in three runs, while Denard Span had three hits and two runs scored for Minnesota, which dropped its second straight. Span was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after missing time with a right shoulder ailment.

However, catcher Joe Mauer missed his second game in a row due to back spasms.

P.J. Walters surrendered six runs on seven hits and two walks through four- plus innings to take the loss.

"I felt fine tonight. It's just I went in, walked the first batter and put myself in trouble and it comes back to bite you," Walters said.

The Twins are 10-7 against the Royals this season.