First-year lefty Will Smith will try to reverse the result of his initial meeting with the Minnesota Twins tonight, when the Kansas City Royals host them in the opener of a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
A 23-year-old product of Florida Gulf Coast University, Smith faced Minnesota in his third big-league start on June 4 in Kansas City and took a 10-7 loss.
He allowed seven runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, which stood as his second-shortest outing before he was chased in 3 2/3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay two starts ago on Aug. 20.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder won three times in five decisions between those two subpar outings, defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Baltimore and Oakland while pitching seven innings in each game.
Smith is 1-3 with a 6.46 earned run average in four road starts this season.
He is opposed by fellow rookie Cole De Vries, a right-hander who's trying for a second straight win after failing to record a victory for nearly two months.
The 27-year-old Minnesota native was 2-1 after 10-7 and 5-1 defeats of the Royals on June 4 and June 30, respectively, but then went 0-4 across 10 outings before defeating Texas, 6-5, on Aug. 26.
In the two wins against the Royals, De Vries combined to allow 11 hits and six runs in 11 innings with a walk and 10 strikeouts.
Against Texas, he gave up an earned run on three hits in five innings while striking out five.
De Vries is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA in eight road appearances.
On Thursday in Kansas City, Jeremy Guthrie worked 7 1/3 outstanding innings and the Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 2-1 victory.
Guthrie (3-3) allowed one run and scattered 10 hits with three strikeouts and no walks to snap a string of two straight no-decisions. He has not lost since Aug. 3.
Tim Collins and Aaron Crow finished off the eighth and Kelvin Herrera earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.
"They're both dangerous, so you've got to make quality pitches," Guthrie said of his approach to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. "On Fielder, the big key was trying to keep him in the yard because he took some good swings on some pitches all night long. If you didn't let them both get a hit back- to-back, you've got a better shot at it. I think that was the big key tonight."
Alex Gordon crushed a solo home run and Johnny Giavotella added an RBI on a groundout for the Royals, who completed their first sweep of the division- rival Tigers since taking three straight from Sept. 8-10, 2009.
The Twins have won eight of 12 games against the Royals to start the 2012 series, including winning two of three when the teams last met in a three-game set from July 20-22 in Kansas City.
The Twins won the series last season, 10-8.