Johan Santana was not dominant in his last outing, but that may change Friday when he faces a familiar opponent.
Santana (12-5, 3.11 ERA) is 9-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 25 career appearances versus the Royals, including 14 starts. Those 25 appearances are his most against any team and his nine wins are tied for his most versus any opponent. Santana also has nine wins against the Chicago White Sox.
The left-hander is 1-0 with a 4.61 ERA in two starts versus Kansas City this season and will face a Royals team that is just 8-22 against lefty starters this season.
Santana looks to rebound from a rare shaky outing on Sunday, when he allowed three runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings and didn’t receive a decision in a 6-4 victory over Detroit. The 2004 Cy Young Award winner tied season-worsts with four walks and two strikeouts.
Despite the rocky performance, Santana has just one loss in his last 14 starts, going 8-1 in with a 3.03 ERA in that span. He will face Mark Redman (7-6, 5.40), another left-hander trying to bounce back from a rough outing.
Kansas City’s lone All-Star representative gave up nine hits and six runs over three innings of a 15-2 loss to Texas on Sunday.
“I’ve got to take it as a bad day at work. It was one of those nights they caught fire,” said Redman, who played parts of his first three major league seasons with the Twins. “I’m not going to dwell on it. It was not any one particular pitch. They hit them all.”
The Twins (62-45) have also had little trouble hitting Redman. He lasted just 1 2-3 innings in a 7-3 loss to Minnesota on April 27, allowing six hits and five runs. Redman is 0-3 with a 6.14 ERA in seven career starts versus the Twins.
He will face a Minnesota lineup that erupted for seven runs in the first three innings Thursday en route to an 8-2 victory over the Royals in the series opener. The Twins had been outscored 19-2 in consecutive defeats to Texas before recording their fifth straight road win, tying a season high.
Minnesota pulled within two games of Boston for the AL Wild Card lead and 1 1-2 games of the idle second-place Chicago White Sox. First baseman Justin Morneau went 2-for-5 with three RBIs for Minnesota and is hitting .412 (21-for-51) with 13 RBIs over the last 13 games.
“Everybody had good at-bats,” said Morneau, who is tied for second place in the AL with 91 RBIs on the season. “We made him (Royals starter Jorge de la Rosa) work. We were trying to stay patient and make him throw strikes and then look for a pitch we could drive.”
The Royals, owners of baseball’s worst record, suffered their 16th defeat in 23 games. Kansas City center fielder David DeJesus recorded two hits and an RBI for his second straight game and Mark Grudzielanek extended his hitting streak to 10 games.