Kansas City (23-15) at Minnesota (22-17)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu May 15, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kenny Rogers will try to avenge his lone loss of the season when the Minnesota Twins complete their four-game set against the Kansas City Royals at the Metrodome.

Rogers began the season 2-0 before losing 4-3 at Kansas City on April 22. The 38-year-old left-hander went six innings, giving up all four runs along with seven hits.

The 15-year veteran has rebounded nicely, going 2-0 in three starts despite a 4.71 ERA over that span.

Rogers, who signed as a free agent after three seasons in Texas, has yet to disappoint the Metrodome crowd. He is 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in four home games.

After dropping the opener, the Twins have taken two in a row from their AL Central rival, including Wednesday’s 7-0 decision.

With Jacque Jones out of the lineup with a strained quadriceps, manager Ron Gardenhire moved Cristian Guzman to the leadoff spot and Doug Mientkiewicz into Guzman’s No. 2 spot in the batting order for the first time all season.

The move paid immediate dividends as Mientkiewicz was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. Guzman had two hits in five at-bats, including his major league-leading sixth triple.

“Maybe this will be a pick-me-up offensively,” Gardenhire said of Mientkiewicz. “He’s been wanting to hit second for a long time.”

Mientkiewicz, a Gold Glove first baseman, also made his first career start in right field for the injury-plagued Twins outfield.

The Twins have won 12 of their last 15.

Since their 17-4 start, the Royals have dropped 11 of 17.

Mike Sweeney had one of Kansas City’s three hits on Wednesday, and is batting .357 (5-for-14) over his last four games.

The Royals are 9-19 at the Metrodome since 2000.

STANDINGS: Royals - 1st place, AL Central. Twins - 2nd place, 1 1/2 GB, AL Central.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Miguel Asencio (2-1, 5.23 ERA). Asencio followed up his first career complete game, a 5-2 win at Baltimore on May 2, with the worst outing of his career on Friday. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up eight earned runs and 10 hits over six innings, losing 15-5 to the visiting Orioles. The Royals dropped to 6-1 in his starts this season. Asencio is 1-0 lifetime against the Twins with a 4.00 ERA in five appearances, including two starts.

TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Rogers (4-1, 4.36 ERA). Rogers didn’t get the decision on Saturday, giving up four earned runs and eight hits over six innings of the Twins’ 6-5 home loss to Boston. The two-time Gold Glove winner is 12-11 all-time against the Royals with a 3.64 ERA in 39 games, including 19 starts.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Desi Relaford, .313 avg.; Sweeney, 7 HRs and 26 RBIs; Raul Ibanez, 22 runs; Carlos Febles and Relaford, 5 SBs. Twins - Jones, .340 avg., 27 runs and 6 SBs; Corey Koskie, Torii Hunter, Matthew LeCroy and Bobby Kielty, 5 HRs; Koskie, 25 RBIs.

SEASON SERIES: Royals, 3-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - Royals starters had lasted at least six innings in seven consecutive games before RHP Runelvys Hernandez’s five-inning stint Wednesday. … 2B Relaford was 0-for-3 on Wednesday, falling to 3-for-14 in his last four games. … 1B Sweeney hasn’t homered since May 2 in Baltimore. Twins - SS Guzman led the majors in triples in 2000 and 2001. … OF Jones remains day-to-day with his injured quadriceps. … LF Dustan Mohr, filling in for OF Jones, finished 2-for-3 with an RBI. He is batting .400 (8-for-20) over his last five games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 10-11 on the road; Twins - 10-9 at home.

INJURIES: Royals - None. Twins - OF Jones (quadriceps), day-to-day; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Asencio Bos vs. K. Rogers Det
2-1 Record 13-8
5.21 ERA 4.57
27 K 116
21 BB 50
1.55 WHIP 1.42