Even without some key contributors, the Minnesota Twins have not had trouble scoring runs of late.
A day after pounding out 19 hits in a 10-4 win at Baltimore, Minnesota (54-46) had 20 in a 19-1 rout of Kansas City on Monday. Even without injured starters Justin Morneau(notes) (concussion) and Orlando Hudson(notes) (strained oblique muscle), the Twins have recorded 36 runs and 53 hits their three-game winning streak.
Hudson was placed on the disabled list Monday, while Morneau has not played since July 7. Minnesota has won nine of 13 and is one game behind first-place Chicago in the AL Central.
“Not just hit a home run, but a grand slam,” said Valencia, batting .376 in 28 career games. “It was great.”
All-Star Joe Mauer(notes) was batting .241 in his previous seven games before going 5 for 5 with a homer and career-high seven RBIs on Monday. He is 23 for 43 with 15 RBIs this season against the Royals (42-57), who have lost 10 of 12 at home to the Twins.
While Minnesota has hit well the last three games, its starting pitchers have allowed three runs over 20 innings during that span.
Pavano (12-6, 3.26 ERA), 7-0 with a 2.40 ERA in nine starts since losing at Seattle on June 3, looks to continue that trend after going the distance in his last two outings.
After giving up seven hits in a 3-2 win over the White Sox on July 17, Pavano tossed a five-hitter in a 5-0 win at Baltimore on Thursday. He is tied for third in the majors with five complete games.
“Everything I have done to this point has been fine, but there are still important games ahead,” said Pavano, who has never thrown three straight complete games during his 12-year career.
The right-hander is 6-5 with a 6.41 ERA in 11 starts versus Kansas City, including 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA this season. He allowed two runs in eight innings of a 6-2 home win over the Royals on June 9.
Kansas City’s Bruce Chen(notes) (5-4, 4.38) tries to avoid a third straight loss when he takes the ball. The left-hander allowed five runs in six innings of a 10-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday. He is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in his last three starts.
Chen is 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA as a starter against the Twins. He allowed five runs and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-8 win at Minnesota on June 10.