Minnesota Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey(notes) got ahead of hitters in his last outing and it worked wonders. That same pinpoint control has helped him enjoy plenty of success against the Kansas City Royals during his career.
Getting the ball Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, Slowey will try to help the AL Central-leading Twins sweep the three-game series and improve to 8-2 on the road for the first time since 1968.
After walking six in his first two starts, Slowey (2-1, 2.45 ERA) did not allow a free pass and yielded five hits in eight innings of one-run ball in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over Cleveland. It was Slowey’s longest outing since going eight innings against the Indians on April 25, 2009.
“That’s the best I’ve felt commanding pitches and certainly the outcome was the best that it’s been this season,” he said Tuesday.
Slowey has enjoyed the outcome in four career starts against the Royals (6-11), going 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Including one relief appearance, he has walked just three in 30 career innings.
Slowey will go for his third straight victory in Kansas City after the Twins (13-5) clinched their eighth consecutive series win at Kauffman Stadium with Saturday’s 9-7, 12-inning victory. Denard Span(notes) drove in the go-ahead run after Jon Rauch(notes) suffered his first blown save of the season in the 11th inning.
Rauch closed out the Royals in the 12th as Minnesota improved to 7-2 on the road for the first time since 1979.
Morneau’s 19 home runs against the Royals are his most against any opponent.
Minnesota has won six straight series to open the season but has yet to sweep a team.
Royals right-hander Brian Bannister(notes) (0-1, 4.58) will try to prevent the Twins from accomplishing that. Bannister, though, is coming off his worst effort of the season. He walked a season-high four and allowed seasons highs of six runs and seven hits in Monday’s 8-1 loss in Toronto.
“I was not prepared for that game and it clearly showed out there,” Bannister said after throwing 99 pitches in a season-low 5 1/3 innings. “I didn’t give us a chance to win.”
Bannister, 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA in his last three starts against Minnesota, might need an extended outing the way the Royals’ bullpen has struggled. Kansas City’s relievers have a 6.71 ERA overall and have walked seven and surrendered three home runs in this series.
Royals outfielder David DeJesus(notes) went 3 for 5 with an RBI triple on Saturday and is batting .403 with two homers and 11 RBIs during an 18-game hitting streak against Minnesota. He is 5 for 14 with a homer lifetime versus Slowey.
The Twins have won nine of 10 at Kauffman Stadium and 15 of 19 overall against Kansas City.