The Kansas City Royals try to continue their recent mastery of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday when they play the middle test of a three- game series against their American League Central foes at Target Field.
Kansas City, which is aiming for its first winning season since 2003, has beaten the Twins in 13 of the 17 matchups this season and has already claimed its first season series against them since 2003.
That trend continued in Tuesday's opener, as Alex Gordon capped Kansas City's big eighth inning with a three-run double and the Royals rolled to a 6-1 win.
James Shields and Kevin Correia were in a pitchers' duel before the Royals broke open a scoreless game with five runs off Minnesota's bullpen in the eighth.
Billy Butler added a solo homer in the ninth and Shields (9-8) moved over .500 for the first time all year after allowing just one run on four hits and four walks over seven innings.
"(Shields) had great stuff early in the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He pitched really, really well."
Kansas City has won three in a row on the heels of a seven-game slide, while Minnesota suffered its third straight loss.
Heading to the hill for the Royals on Wednesday will be lefty Danny Duffy, who makes the start in place of the ineffective Wade Davis. Duffy has made two starts this season and is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA. He did not get a decision against the Twins earlier in the year and is 0-1 in two starts against them with a 5.19 ERA.
"We haven't given up on making the playoffs. We want Duffy on our playoff roster," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "And if we do make the playoffs, we're probably going to go with three starters and Wade is going to be in the bullpen at that time."
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with Andrew Albers, who is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA. After two scoreless outings to start his career Albers has been roughed up his last two times out. Albers escaped without a decision on Thursday in Detroit, but was tagged for five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He had given up five runs in seven innings in a loss to Chicago his previous time out.
"I thought Albers did a great job," Gardenhire said. "He changed speeds, moved the ball around. At the end there, they put some balls in the right places."
Albers beat Kansas City in his first big league start, holding them off the board for 8 1/3 innings.
The Royals' 13 wins are already the most by a Kansas City club against the Twins, topping 11-win campaigns against them in 1975 and 2003.