Kansas City (57-79) at Minnesota (80-57)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 2:10 pm EDT Mon Sep 6, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Joe Mauer(notes) may be in a minor slump, but he’s about to face the right opponent for him to break out against.

The All-Star catcher looks to continue his astounding success against the Kansas City Royals when the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins open a three-game home set Monday.

Mauer has gone 4 for 23 over his last seven games, but is 27 for 51 with 17 RBIs in 12 games against Kansas City (57-79) this year. He went 9 for 13, including a 5-for-5 effort with seven RBIs in the opener, during a three-game sweep July 26-28 in the teams’ last meeting.

Mauer’s .346 average versus Kansas City is his highest against any division opponent.

The Twins (80-57), winners of 17 of 21 against the Royals, hold a 3 1/2-game lead over Chicago in the Central. Minnesota has won 16 of 19 at home and five of six on this nine-game homestand.

Rookie third baseman Danny Valencia(notes) missed his second consecutive game with a tight right hamstring in a 6-5 win over Texas on Sunday. Valencia, 8 for 16 over his last four games, may return Monday.

“One more day being out won’t hurt him,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website. “I wanted him to get out there on the field and do some running.”

Mauer’s scheduled batterymate Monday, Kevin Slowey(notes) (11-6, 4.39 ERA), is 5-1 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts against the Royals.

Slowey will be activated off the disabled list after being out since Aug. 21 with a mild muscle strain in his right triceps. He’s 7-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 home starts this year.

The right-hander has fared well against Kansas City regulars Billy Butler(notes) (1 for 14) and Alex Gordon(notes) (1 for 9).

Gordon came through with a go-ahead solo home run in the sixth inning as the Royals ended a three-game skid with a 2-1 home win over Detroit on Sunday. The left fielder homered twice in the weekend series after not going deep over his previous 22 games.

“I was just being aggressive, and when I do get my fastball hit it, and I was able to do something with it,” Gordon said.

The Royals are the second-lowest scoring team in the majors since the start of August with 107 runs. They have dropped 17 of 22 on the road as they start a six-game trip.

Sean O’Sullivan(notes) (2-4, 5.50) is still in search of his first win as a starter with Kansas City, going 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in seven outings since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on July 22.

The Royals have won his last two outings, with the right-hander allowing six runs over five innings in a 10-9 home victory over the Rangers on Tuesday.

O’Sullivan has never faced the Twins. The only Minnesota hitter he has faced is Jim Thome(notes), who is 1 for 2 against him.

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Starting Pitchers

S. O'Sullivan Phi vs. K. Slowey Phi
4-6 Record 13-6
5.49 ERA 4.45
43 K 116
31 BB 29
1.45 WHIP 1.29


Monday, Sep 6