Royals try to keep Twins winless at home

( - The Kansas City Royals will try to build off a solid homestand on Friday night when they begin a three-game series against the hosting Minnesota Twins.

The Royals began the season with a pair of losses in Detroit, but bounced back by winning four of six at Kauffman Stadium. They took on the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday in the rubber match of a three-game set and powered their way to a 7-3 victory.

Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer as part of a five-run fifth inning and finished with four RBI. His home run was the first hit by a Royals batter this season, snapping a club-record seven-game homer drought to begin the season.

Gordon's efforts were more than enough for Jeremy Guthrie, who yielded just one run over seven stellar frames.

Guthrie's efforts came one game after the Royals suffered a tough-luck 1-0 setback and Kansas City's starters have posted a 2.03 earned run average through the first eight games of the season.

"We weren't putting up the runs and our pitching staff was doing a great job, so we're going to keep grinding away and eventually I think it's going to come through," said Gordon. "It's early on and we got a good offense. I believe in our offense."

Getting the start for the Royals in this opener will be 36-year-old Bruce Chen, who began his sixth season with the club by hurling 6 1/3 solid innings in a no-decision versus the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Chen yielded a run on six hits, striking out seven without a walk in a game the Royals won 4-3.

The left-hander is 4-6 with a 4.59 ERA in 24 career meetings with the Twins, including 11 starts.

The Twins are aiming for their first home victory of the campaign tonight as they were swept in three games by the Oakland Athletics to begin a nine-game homestand. Minnesota dropped Thursday's finale 6-1.

Brian Dozier homered for the Twins, who mustered just three hits, and Mike Pelfrey didn't get out of the sixth inning and suffered his second straight setback of the season. The right-hander was charged with six runs on nine hits, striking out three and walking four in five-plus innings of work.

"It's not the way it's supposed to be," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his club's struggles. "It's not like the guys aren't trying. It's just not working right now."

Kyle Gibson will try to improve on his victory to open his season last Saturday, a win that marked the 1,000th of Gardenhire's career.

Gardenhire reached the milestone despite the right-handed Gibson allowing three hits and four walks over five-plus innings. The 26-year-old was able to minimize the damage to just one run, however.

Gibson went 2-4 with a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts a season ago, making his MLB debut on June 29 in a start against the Royals. He won that outing, yielding two runs on eight hits over six innings without a walk.

Minnesota is hoping to have Josh Willingham in the lineup tonight. He has missed three straight contests due to a bruised left wrist suffered on Sunday when he was hit by a pitch.

The Royals dominated their season series with the Twins last year, winning 15 of the 19 meetings while posting an 8-2 mark in Minnesota.