Kansas City (44-69) at Minnesota (55-58)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Thu Aug 13, 2009
  • TV: FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Minnesota’s Carl Pavano(notes) proved his dominance over one of the Twins’ division rivals hadn’t changed after a switch in uniforms. His next AL Central opponent has been much more problematic for him, however.

Pavano looks to win his third straight start as the Twins close a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Minnesota (55-58) acquired Pavano (10-8, 5.09 ERA) from Cleveland last Friday for a player to be named later and the right-hander was outstanding the next day in his Twins debut. He pitched seven innings and scattered five hits while striking out five in an 11-0 victory at Detroit.

Pavano’s previous start had also been versus the Tigers, who he is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA against this season.

“It was kind of a pleasure to watch a guy who has been around for awhile use all of his pitches,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Pavano’s outing was one of the few good starts the Twins have had in the last month. Minnesota hopes he can provide a veteran presence for a rotation that is 3-6 with a 6.99 ERA in August.

The AL-worst Royals (44-69), though, have been troublesome for Pavano, who is 1-2 with an 8.64 ERA in three starts against them this season. He is 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA in four career outings versus Kansas City.

Royals second baseman Alberto Callaspo(notes) is 5 for 8 with a homer and two doubles against Pavano.

He takes the mound trying to follow an encouraging start by Francisco Liriano(notes) in Minnesota’s 7-1 victory Wednesday. After losing by eight runs the night before, Joe Crede(notes) staked the Twins to a 5-1 lead in the first inning with a three-run homer and Liriano limited Kansas City to one run over seven innings for his first win since June 28.

Crede had not played since Aug. 6 due to a sore right shoulder. He received two cortisone shots in the joint before returning, but showed no adverse effects, finishing with his first three-hit game of the season.

“He’s well rested,” Gardenhire deadpanned. “He said he felt good.”

With its third win in 11 contests, Minnesota moved within four games of division-leading Detroit. The Twins are looking to win their first series since sweeping a three-game set against Chicago from July 27-29.

The Royals looked like they might carry over Tuesday’s big offensive performance into Wednesday after Willie Bloomquist(notes) homered in the first, but Kansas City managed just three hits after that.

Gil Meche(notes) (4-9, 4.50) returns to the mound for his first start in more than a month Thursday. He’s been on the disabled list with a left lower back strain since lasting 3 2-3 innings in a start against Boston on July 11.

The right-hander, who has lost four straight decisions, has split two starts against the Twins this year, allowing seven runs over 12 innings. On July 1, he yielded three runs and walked five in six innings of a 5-1 loss.

Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer(notes) is 7 for 13 with a home run and a double against Meche, going 3 for 4 this season.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Meche KC vs. C. Pavano Min
6-10 Record 14-12
5.09 ERA 5.10
95 K 147
58 BB 39
1.57 WHIP 1.37

Scoreboard

Thursday, Aug 13