The Twins are coming off their fourth loss in five games, 2-1 to Texas on Sunday. Joe Mauer drove in the lone run for Minnesota, which dropped 5 1/2 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card race.
The Twins’ lack of offense ruined a stellar effort from reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. The veteran left-hander dazzled the Rangers over seven innings, but he came away with nothing.
“It’s been our Achilles’ heel all year long,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his team’s offense. “We have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and we just can’t support them offensively.”
The Twins have won just three of their last eight games, averaging 3.1 runs in that span. They have scored just 564 runs this season, second-fewest in the league behind the Royals (537).
Minnesota’s low-scoring ways will likely mean more pressure on Monday’s starter, Scott Baker. The rookie right-hander, who will be making his third major league start, was called up from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday.
Baker last pitched in the big leagues on July 23, tossing seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 victory over Detroit, his first major league win.
The 23-year-old right-hander will be replacing struggling veteran Joe Mays in the rotation. Mays, who has gone 1-6 with a 7.48 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break, was sent to the bullpen over the weekend.
The Royals are coming off being swept three straight by the Yankees in the Bronx, including a 10-3 loss on Sunday.
Mike Sweeney hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who are 4-4 following their franchise-record 19-game losing streak. Sweeney is batting .333 (13-for-39) with seven RBIs over his last 10 games.