The Minnesota Twins may own the best home record in baseball, but their play on the road is also helping them stay in the AL Wild Card hunt.
The Twins (63-45) look for their seventh straight win away from home when they continue a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals (38-71) at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday.
Minnesota is outscoring its opponents 37-19 during its current six-game road winning streak. The Twins have not won seven consecutive games on the road since Sept. 7-20, 2004.
Minnesota needed an extra inning to extend its streak on Friday, scoring three runs in the top of the 10th to beat Kansas City 8-5 and take the first two games of the series. The Twins improved to 24-30 on the road this season and are a major league-best 39-15 at home.
They trail Boston by two games for the AL Wild Card lead and are 1 1-2 games behind the second-place Chicago White Sox.
“You have to do it this time of year,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Everybody is looking at the scoreboard. I think every team that we’re in this race with won. You’ve got to find ways to win and this ball team is pretty resilient.”
The Royals held a two-run lead heading into the ninth on Friday before Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer hit back-to-back homers to tie the game. Twins shortstop Jason Bartlett scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 10th and Torii Hunter added a two-run single to seal the win.
Carlos Silva (7-9, 6.49 ERA) looks for his fourth consecutive win when he takes the mound for Minnesota on Saturday. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 4.43 in his four starts since the All-Star break.
He is coming off one of his best efforts of the season on Monday, when he allowed one run and six hits over seven innings of a 15-2 win over Texas. Silva threw 72 of his 102 pitches for strikes, walking none and striking out four.
“If I have to prove something to myself, facing that kind of team and pitching like that tells me that I can do this,” Silva said.
Silva pitched seven strong innings in his only start against Kansas City this season, giving up one run and eight hits, but got no run support in a 1-0 defeat on May 4. He is 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in seven career starts versus the Royals, including a 2-0 mark with a 2.93 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.
Silva has struggled away from home this season, however, going 2-5 with a 9.00 ERA in 12 road appearances, including nine starts.
He will be opposed by Runelvys Hernandez (2-6, 7.88), who is trying to rebound from one of his worst outings of the season. The Royals right-hander allowed a season-high eight runs and eight hits—including three homers—over three innings of an 8-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday. He also committed two balks in the first inning.
“He was more or less wild in the strike zone,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He couldn’t get his pitches where he wanted to. It was a matter of command.”
Hernandez had not allowed eight runs since giving up a career-high nine in a 14-5 defeat to Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2003. He is 2-4 with a 6.53 ERA in seven career starts versus the Twins, but was dominant in his only outing against them this season. Hernandez held Minnesota to one run and two hits over seven innings of a 3-1 victory on April 26.
Kansas City second baseman Mark Grudzielanek is batting .314 (16-for-51) during an 11-game hitting streak, tying the longest streak by a Royals player this season.