Twins could be without Mauer for finale with Royals

( - The Minnesota Twins may be without Joe Mauer on Wednesday when they play the rubber match of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Target Field.

Minnesota won for the fifth time in six home games on Tuesday, as Eduardo Nunez had three hits, including a solo homer, and scored three runs to power the Twins to a 10-2 triumph. Kendrys Morales also had three hits for the Twins, who bounced back from a 6-1 loss on Monday to win for just the second time in their last eight overall games.

"It was nice," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "The offense came alive and a lot of good things happened."

Ricky Nolasco (5-6) earned his first win in his last five starts after giving up one run on eight hits in six innings.

The victory may have come at a cost, though, as Mauer was forced to exit the game with a strained muscle in his right side. Mauer, who extended his hitting streak to 12, will be evaluated before Wednesday's contest.

"I've never had this happen before, so I hope it's a lot sooner than what guys in the past have had," Mauer said. "I've been feeling pretty good and getting some results, so it's bad timing."

Eric Hosmer had four this for the Royals, who fell to 0-3 in James Shields' last three starts. Shields (8-4) gave up five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits in five innings.

"They just found a lot of holes today. It's definitely frustrating that I'm not getting outs, I'm letting my team down," Shields said.

Still, the Royals are 9-2 in their past 11 road games.

Getting the call for the Twins on Wednesday will be righty Kevin Correia, who is 4-9 on the year with a 5.08 ERA. Correia lost for the second time in three starts in Texas on Friday, as he surrendered four runs and six hits in six innings.

"I felt pretty comfortable out there and my stuff was pretty decent, I just made a couple of bad pitches," said Correia, who has pitched to a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts.

Correia is 0-4 with a 5.16 ERA in eight meetings against the Royals

Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Jason Vargas, who is coming off one of his worst outings of the season. Vargas lasted just four innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday, but escaped without a decision, despite giving up six runs and nine hits, including three home runs.

Vargas, who is 7-3 on the year with a 3.53 ERA, hadn't allowed more than three runs since May 19, vs. the White Sox.

"It just wasn't his day," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said after that outing against the Halos. "He really struggled with command of his fastball; he had trouble getting it down. I think all three homers they hit were on fastballs up. Just one of those days where it was a fight with his command."

Minnesota has won five of eight head-to-head meetings with the Royals this season.