Minnesota (11-9) dropped two of three games at Kansas City (6-14) over the weekend, including a 3-1 defeat in the finale to begin the current losing skid. After falling to the Royals on Sunday, the Twins returned home and dropped two games to the Cleveland Indians, including Tuesday’s 5-3 defeat.
Minnesota averaged 5.0 runs through its first 17 contests, but has totaled just seven in its last three games while batting .215 as a team.
“Overall, we’re not swinging great,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the team’s official Web site. “Too many guys in the lineup are going through a tough period at the same time.”
Center fielder Torii Hunter is one Twins hitter not slumping, as he is batting .356 during an 11-game hitting streak with nine doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.
Catcher Joe Mauer leads the team with a .391 average and is 12-for-24 in his last six games against the Royals. He is also 5-for-6 with two doubles during his career against Odalis Perez, who will take the mound for Kansas City on Wednesday.
After the series win over Minnesota, the Royals were swept in two games at Chicago by the White Sox. Kansas City allowed a pair of ninth-inning runs on a throwing error and a wild pitch to fall 9-7 in the finale on Tuesday night.
“We get close,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “That’s the frustrating part.”
Mark Teahen went 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the defeat to extend his hitting streak to seven games, batting .440 during that stretch. The Kansas City right fielder is 4-for-9 with two doubles and four RBIs during his career against Sidney Ponson (1-2, 9.39 ERA), who starts for the Twins on Wednesday.
The right-hander will look for better results than when he faced the Royals on Friday. Ponson allowed six runs and 10 hits - two homers - through a season-low 4 1-3 innings in an 11-7 defeat.
“I need to start getting into the seventh inning and start pitching good games,” Ponson told the team’s official Web site. “It’s one of those things. I just need to do what I know I can do to get better.”
Ponson is 9-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 18 career starts versus the Royals, which is tied for his most wins against any opponent. He has posted a dismal 19.44 ERA in his last three starts against them, though, allowing 18 earned runs over 8 1-3 innings.
He squared off against Perez (1-2, 8.64) in his last start and will do so again Wednesday. Perez gave up four runs and seven hits over five innings versus Minnesota on Friday, good enough to earn his first victory of the season.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 7.52 ERA in four career starts against the Twins.
After going 2-3 on their recent homestand, the Royals are opening a five-game road trip. They have lost seven of nine games away from home this season.