The Twins look for another strong showing when they conclude a three-game series with the Royals on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
Minnesota (58-55) had been held to five or fewer runs in 16 consecutive games before beating Kansas City 11-4 on Wednesday to even the series. The Twins totaled only 10 runs over their previous five games.
The Twins hadn’t homered since Hunter went deep on July 31, a span of 242 plate appearances that had left Minnesota as the only major league team without an August homer.
“It’s what we needed. We needed a big offensive outburst,” said Cuddyer, whose two-run shot fueled a five-run third inning. “If we’d won 1-0 or something like that, it wouldn’t have given us the relief that we got tonight.”
Hunter was a triple short of the cycle and raised his average to .351 (13-for-37) versus the Royals this season, and Mike Redmond tied a career high with four hits. The Twins will try to keep it going versus Davies (0-0, 15.00 ERA), acquired from Atlanta for reliever Octavio Dotel at the trade deadline.
In his first start for the Royals on Saturday, the right-hander allowed five runs and six hits over three innings, but avoided taking the loss in a 16-8 defeat to the New York Yankees. Most memorably, though, he was on the wrong side of history, allowing Alex Rodriguez’s 500th career homer in the first inning.
“Nobody wants to give up a homer and be part of history that way, you know?” Davies told the Royals’ official Web site. “But we’re trying to win a ballgame, and I was trying to throw a simple down-and-in (sinker) and I didn’t get it down and in far enough.”
Davies, who was 4-8 with a 5.76 ERA in 17 starts for the Braves, will try to rebound in his first career appearance at Kauffman Stadium. He lost his only career start versus the Twins on June 12, allowing five runs through 3 2-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat.
Kansas City (49-63) had a season-high five-game home winning streak snapped on Wednesday and lost for the sixth time in eight games overall.
The Royals will face Matt Garza (1-2, 1.78), who is trying to bounce back from his shortest start of the season.
The Twins right-hander allowed two runs and six hits over four innings on Saturday in a 3-2 win over Cleveland. He walked two, hit two batters and struck out five.
Garza loaded the bases twice and threw just 55 of his 93 pitches for strikes.
“He was Houdini a little bit today,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official Web site. “He sure made some messes, but he made enough pitches to get through it anyway. One of those days where he didn’t really have his location.”
The Twins have given Garza two or fewer runs of support in all but one of his five starts. He is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two road starts—both Minnesota victories.
The 23-year-old Garza made his one major league start versus the Royals last season, allowing two runs over 7 2-3 innings while striking out seven in a 2-0 defeat on Aug. 29.
The Twins will be without rookie third baseman Brian Buscher, who has a rapidly growing infection in his leg and was flown back to Minneapolis on Wednesday. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list.