Pitching on six days’ rest after experiencing elbow soreness in his last start, Blackburn takes the mound Saturday when Minnesota also tries to win its sixth consecutive series to open the season.
After taking two of three at home against the Royals last weekend, the AL Central-leading Twins (12-5) opened their nine-game trip Friday with an 8-3 victory over Kansas City.
Carl Pavano(notes) allowed two runs in seven innings and designated hitter Jim Thome(notes) hit his 567th career home run and drove in three as Minnesota clinched its first winning April in three years.
Minnesota has won seven consecutive series at Kauffman Stadium since dropping two of three there Aug. 7-9, 2007.
Blackburn (1-1, 6.05 ERA) will try to bounce back after allowing five earned runs in each of his last two starts. The right-hander failed to earn a decision in last Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Royals, yielding seven hits - including two solo homers to center fielder Rick Ankiel(notes) - and leaving after a season-low five innings due to soreness in his pitching elbow.
Blackburn is 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three career starts in Kansas City.
Trying to avoid their third straight series loss at home, the Royals (6-10) will counter with Luke Hochevar(notes) (2-0, 2.89), who helped Kansas City salvage a game at Target Field on Sunday when he gave up three runs and six hits over six innings of a 10-5 victory. The right-hander overcame a season-high five walks in his 104-pitch outing.
“It wasn’t pretty, but I found a way to make some pitches and kept us in there. I got myself in some jams and was able to get out of them,” Hochevar told the Royals’ official Web site after Kansas City snapped a five-game overall losing streak to Minnesota.
Hochevar is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five career starts versus the Twins.
Ankiel was hitless in four at-bats Friday, making him 0 for 19 since his two-homer game against Blackburn.
Thome, two homers shy of tying Rafael Palmeiro for 11th all-time, has more home runs (45) against Kansas City than any player in history.
Minnesota has won 14 of 18 overall versus the Royals.