Sam Gaviglio never would have bet when his flight landed in Las Vegas last week that he would be heading to Minnesota a few hours later.
Gaviglio traveled to Nevada with Triple-A Tacoma, the Seattle Mariners' top farm team, for a weekend series. He soon learned he was heading back to the major leagues.
"We were going to play the 51s and my phone started exploding," the 27-year-old right-handed pitcher said. "I was trying to put it all together."
Gaviglio was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals on Friday. He took a flight later in the afternoon to join them during the series in Minnesota. He'll make his Royals debut on Thursday when he starts the opener of a four-game series against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium.
Gaviglio (3-5, 4.62 ERA) made 12 appearances (11 starts) with the Mariners this season. He went 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA in his first eight outings but lost his last four starts, amassing a 6.65 ERA, before getting sent back to the minors.
"Each start was a learning experience," he said. "Towards the end, I got a little mechanically off, but I feel like I got back to my normal mechanics (at Tacoma)."
With ace Danny Duffy on the disabled list, the Royals were looking for another starting option.
"We liked his ability to throw strikes," manager Ned Yost said. "He's a ground-ball guy who works down in the zone."
Yost is just looking for Gaviglio to keep his team in the game. Gaviglio recorded his most recent major league victory against the Twins, when he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings on June 14.
"We've got a solid bullpen," he said. "If he can get us through the fifth and into the sixth, it would be a great job."
Minnesota, one of the teams the Royals are chasing for a wild-card spot, will counter with veteran Kyle Gibson (9-10, 5.33 ERA). Gibson has gotten hot down the stretch, winning his last three starts. He held the Royals scoreless for six innings Saturday.
Gibson is 6-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 14 career starts against Kansas City.
The Twins snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a 10-6 victory over Tampa Bay. Eduardo Escobar led the way with three hits and three RBIs.
"We leave here with a positive mind," Escobar said. "The offense struggled in the first two games here and we didn't hit well. Knowing that we won and the offense woke up again, I think, gives us momentum to go to Kansas City."
Manager Paul Molitor echoed those sentiments.
"There are times when you've got to create your own luck," he said. "You come in here and it's a different surface, a different atmosphere. The crowd's a little thin, not a lot of energy, you've gotta kind of dig from within.
"It was a challenge today to find (a way) to get it done. We got ourselves a lead and gave it back and we still found a way to come out on top. It's going to be a lot better heading into Kansas City knowing that we got this one."