The two worst teams in the American League face off this evening, as the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins open a three-game set at Target Field.
Both teams enter this matchup with identical 5-14 marks, but the Royals needed to win the last two games of their series with the Cleveland Indians to get to that mark and open tonight's series tied with the Twins for the last spot in the AL Central.
On Thursday, Luis Mendoza picked up his first win of the season and Kansas City won a series for just the second time in 2012 with a 4-2 victory over Cleveland at Progressive Field.
Mendoza (1-2) allowed two runs on four hits over five-plus innings, and the Royals' bullpen pitched four scoreless frames for Kansas City's first series victory since it opened the season by taking two of three from the Angels.
"This is good for the team," Mendoza said. "After that bad homestand, we needed to win this series."
Jonathan Broxton worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth to record his second save.
Trying to keep the Royals in the win column tonight will be left-hander Everett Teaford, who gets the start in place of the injured Danny Duffy. Duffy was scratched on Thursday because of tightness in his left elbow.
Teaford has appeared in two games out of the bullpen for the Royals and is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in seven innings. He was 2-1 with a 3.37 ERA in three starts at the end of last season.
"I just hope I can do what Mendoza did today and get it to our great bullpen," said Teaford.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has lost five in a row after getting swept by the Boston Red Sox, culminating with Wednesday's 7-6 loss.
Joe Mauer went 2-for-5 with a two-run single and a run scored, while Denard Span, Alexi Casilla, Trevor Plouffe and Justin Morneau had an RBI apiece for the Twins, who've dropped six of their last seven and have been outscored by 38 runs this season, the most in baseball. .
"We need to get some runs early and try to take some pressure off the pitching staff," said Morneau. "We haven't done that, but there's no finger-pointing or blaming going on. In this clubhouse it's win together, lose together."
Liam Hendriks (0-1) was shelled for seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while fanning three in just four-plus innings.
Hoping for a better effort tonight the Twins will hand the ball to veteran righty Carl Pavano, who is 1-2 with a 4.72 ERA. Pavano absorbed the loss on Saturday against Tampa Bay, despite a solid effort that saw him allow three runs (two earned) and seven hits in six innings.
Pavano is 9-7 lifetime versus the Royals with a 5.28 ERA in 18 games (17 starts).
Minnesota was 10-8 against the Royals last season.