Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 7/1/12
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS WriterJoe Mauer has put together a strong stretch at the plate, but that's nothing new against the Kansas City Royals.Mauer will try to continue his surge and help the Minnesota Twins to a third consecutive victory over the visiting Royals in the finale of this four-game set Sunday.Mauer is hitting .420 with 15 RBIs in his last 19 games, raising his average to .325 and among the AL leaders.He has five hits with a pair of RBIs in the first three games of this series after homering in a 5-1 win over Kansas City (35-41) in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. He went 1 for 4 in a 7-2 victory in the opener.Minnesota (32-45) hasn't won three in a row since June 6-9."We've been playing pretty good baseball and hopefully we can continue to do that," Mauer said.He's had little trouble doing that against the Royals, hitting .465 while knocking in 25 runs in his last 26 games. However, he's 4 for 18 against Bruce Chen, Sunday's scheduled starter.Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.30 ERA) looks to continue his resurgence for the Twins. The left-hander has a 2.41 ERA in six starts since returning to the rotation but has split four decisions in that span due largely to an average of 2.89 runs of support. That stretch includes a 1-0 loss at Kansas City opposite Chen on June 5, when Liriano yielded one run and four hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.Liriano got enough help Monday, allowing one run and four hits in a season-high seven innings of a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. "I'm more relaxed. I'm not trying to make a perfect pitch," said Liriano, who was 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA in his first six starts before being demoted to the bullpen. "I'm not worried about the runners like I was before."Liriano has won three of four home starts against the Royals with a 3.81 ERA.Chen (7-6, 4.53) will try to best Liriano again after allowing four hits in seven innings June 5. That matchup, though, came in Kansas City and Chen is 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in his last four starts at Minnesota, including a 7-4 loss on April 29. He was pulled with two outs in the third after giving up six runs and six hits. The left-hander is 3-3 with a 6.05 ERA in nine road starts this season. Chen was solid in his most recent outing, limiting Tampa Bay to two runs - one earned - in seven innings of an 8-2 home victory Tuesday. "He's such a good big league pitcher, because he changes speeds very effectively, he throws strikes, he's on the attack, different arm angles, different locations, keeps hitters off-balance really well," manager Ned Yost told the team's official website.Kansas City's Billy Butler hit his team-leading 16th homer in Saturday's nightcap and is batting .329 in his last 24 games. He's 13 for 31 (.419) his past seven contests in Minnesota, but 5 for 27 with six strikeouts lifetime against Liriano.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker