Twins-Royals Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 03, 2013
The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals have both experienced their share of struggles. But a recent power surge has things looking up for the Twins, while the Royals' offense is still sputtering through a prolonged slump. Minnesota would like to see both trends continue Tuesday night when it visits Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series. The Twins (25-29) don't resemble the offense that managed five runs during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals from April 8-10. They arrive in Kansas City winners of seven of nine while slugging .449 with 15 homers - including four in Sunday's 10-0 win over Seattle. This stretch immediately follows a 10-game losing streak - tied for fourth-longest in team history - that saw the Twins average 2.8 runs while slugging only .317. "Those 10 games we were losing, some games were one-run games and we just needed a big hit," Brian Dozier, who went 3 for 4 with a home run Sunday, told the team's official website. Dozier has struggled this season and was batting .197 before going 10 for 24 (.417) over his last six games. "But we've turned this thing around and it's not a streak anymore," he said. "Everything is going good right now and we're clicking." The Royals (23-31), meanwhile, continued to squander opportunities in a 3-1 loss at Texas on Sunday. They couldn't score a run in the second despite loading the bases with no outs, and also finished the fourth empty-handed after putting runners on second and third. Kansas City is hitting .221 with runners in scoring position while averaging 2.6 runs during a 3-14 slide. This came after the club started 20-17, and hit .312 with runners in scoring position. "We were in a position to do some damage," manager Ned Yost said Sunday. "We had our opportunities and it just didn't happen. We have to start picking up some of those opportunities." Both starting pitchers put together solid outings Wednesday. Minnesota's Samuel Deduno (1-1, 5.11 ERA) held Milwaukee to one run and four hits over seven innings in a 4-1 win, while Luis Mendoza (1-2, 4.63) gave up a run in 5 2-3 innings at St. Louis in a game the Royals would go on to lose 5-3. Deduno yielded one run in 6 1-3 innings in winning his lone start against the Royals on July 22. Mendoza is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five games - four starts - against the Twins. Justin Morneau, who is expected to be back in the lineup after missing two straight games because of the stomach flu, is 5 for 8 off the right-hander. A matchup with the Twins might be just what Billy Butler and Salvador Perez need to help awaken Kansas City's offense. Butler is batting .422 with 11 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak versus Minnesota, while Perez has at least one hit in 17 of his 19 games against the divisional foe, batting .403. He went 6 for 12 in the first three games this year. Joe Mauer, who is 7 of 18 in his last five games, is hitting .452 with 31 RBIs in his last 35 contests against Kansas City dating back to 2010.
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