The Kansas City Royals have failed to advance to the playoffs for a 26th consecutive year, but at least they’re finishing this season on a positive note.
The Minnesota Twins are running out of chances for that to happen.
Kansas City goes for its third straight victory Tuesday night when the host Twins try to avoid their first 100-loss season in nearly three decades.
Despite opening 10-4 - their best start since 2003 - the Royals (71-89) will have to wait another season to make their first playoff appearance since winning the 1985 World Series.
Kansas City, though, has won 11 of 14 following Monday’s 7-3 series-opening victory.
The AL-worst Twins (61-99), meanwhile, have dropped 29 of 35 and need to win out to avoid their first 100-loss season since finishing 60-102 in 1982.
“We wanted to win (Monday) to stay away from having to win the next two,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Now we’ve got to. We’ve got (Carl) Pavano going (Wednesday). We’re hoping we can get to that last day and have Pavano stop it from ever happening. We’ve got to win (Tuesday).”
The right-hander didn’t get a decision in Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Seattle but had a respectable performance, tying a career high with nine hits allowed but limiting the Mariners to two runs.
It was a vast improvement from Swarzak’s previous start, a 10-4 loss to Cleveland on Sept. 17 in which he was tagged for seven runs in 1 2-3 innings.
Swarzak tossed six innings of two-run ball in an 8-2 victory at Kansas City on June 2, his only career start against the Royals.
The right-hander gave up seven runs - three earned - in 2 2-3 innings of the June 2 loss, and landed on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis the following day.
O’Sullivan remained in the minors after recovering from that injury, going 8-2 with a 4.22 ERA in 14 regular-season starts at Triple-A Omaha. He is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts versus Minnesota this season.
These teams have split their first 16 meetings of 2011.