Veteran lefty Bruce Chen will try to avoid a personal three-start tailspin on Thursday afternoon when the Kansas City Royals visit Target Field to wrap up a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
A 36-year-old native of Panama, Chen had a spectacular statistical start to 2013, going 5-0 with a 1.62 earned run average through his initial 25 appearances - which included 19 bullpen outings and six starts.
The run ended on Aug. 18, however, when he was battered for six hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings of his first loss of the year - a 6-3 verdict at Detroit.
Loss No. 2 followed five days later when Chen retired just 11 batters while allowing seven runs on six hits and five walks in an 11-10 loss to Washington.
His ERA has risen more than a run - to 2.88 - after the two losses, and he's allowed 13 runs in two losses after allowing just four runs in his initial six starting assignments.
For the Twins, Dominican righty Samuel Deduno snapped a four-start skid in his last start and can add to an already career-best win total.
The 30-year-old was 7-4 in 2013 after a 4-0 triumph at Seattle on July 27, but was 0-3 in four August starts before tossing six innings of three-hit, one-run ball while defeating Cleveland, 5-1, on Aug. 23.
He's made four career starts against Kansas City and won three of them while allowing just six runs on 27 hits in 25 innings - a 2.16 ERA.
Deduno's split six decisions in seven 2013 starts at Target Field, but is 0-3 in his last four starts there after winning the first three of the season.
On Wednesday, Salvador Perez went 4-for-5 with a pair of two-run home runs as the Royals claimed an 8-1 win.
Alex Gordon hit a solo homer and scored twice, while Billy Butler drove in two and scored twice for the Royals, who have won their past four games. Danny Duffy (2-0) pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and striking out seven to win his second straight start.
Andrew Albers (2-2) gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits in seven innings for the Twins, who have dropped their past four contests. Justin Morneau's solo homer in the ninth accounted for the only run for the club.
The Royals' 14 wins are already the most by a Kansas City club against the Twins, topping 11-win campaigns against them in 1975 and 2003.