Playing on the road hasn’t provided the Minnesota Twins with much success lately, but opposing the Royals in Kansas City hasn’t been a problem.
The Twins seek to pick up their sixth win in seven tries at Kauffman Stadium on Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Royals.
Minnesota (63-51) has had little trouble facing opponents at the Metrodome behind one of the majors’ best home records, but the club’s 24-30 road mark is among the worst in the AL.
The Twins relinquished leads in losing the first two contests of their six-game road trip, but emerged with a 7-3 victory on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep at Seattle.
Brendan Harris had two RBIs, while rookie Denard Span drove in a career-high four runs - and robbed the Mariners of a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning - for the Twins, who held on for the third win in their last 10 away games.
Despite Minnesota’s inconsistencies on the road, the team has won eight of its last 12 games overall to remain in a tight race with the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central.
“We can’t sneak up on teams anymore,” Span told the Twins’ official Web site. “Teams know about us. These guys (in Seattle) are in last place, but they played us hard and played us tough. We’re going to have to earn it from here on out.”
Following this weekend’s series, the Twins begin a nine-game homestand before playing a season-high 14 straight on the road.
Minnesota will now look to continue its dominance of Kansas City (53-62) at Kauffman Stadium, where the Twins have taken five of six this season, sweeping a three-game set there from May 27-29.
The Twins, who are 34-20 versus division foes and have won seven of nine against the Royals, will send Kevin Slowey (7-8, 4.21 ERA) to the mound Friday. Slowey limited the Royals to six hits during a 5-1, complete-game victory in the teams’ most recent matchup on May 29.
Slowey, 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA in nine road starts, has gone 1-2 with a 3.98 ERA over his last three outings overall. The right-hander fanned seven in six innings, but also gave up five runs and six hits - two homers - in a 5-1 home loss to Cleveland on Saturday.
Also pitching on Saturday, Kansas City’s Kyle Davies (5-2, 4.41) gave up three runs and five hits over 5 1-3 innings of a 9-7 victory over the White Sox. After surrendering back-to-back homers in the second inning, he retired the next 11 batters and improved to 3-2 with a 4.34 ERA in nine home starts.
“It’s not like I changed my delivery, it’s just I slowed myself down a little bit and gave myself a little breather,” Davies told the Royals’ official Web site.
Davis takes the mound Friday after the Royals, who have split the first six contests of their nine-game homestand, dropped a second straight 8-2 decision to Boston on Wednesday.
While Kansas City tries to avoid its first three-game losing streak since July 21-23, Davies will be aiming to win a third straight start for the first time in his career.
He is 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA in four all-time starts versus Minnesota.