Twins-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

With every victory, the Kansas City Royals grow more confident.

Following a second straight comeback win, the Royals look to complete a three-game sweep by handing the visiting Minnesota Twins a fifth consecutive loss Thursday night.

One day after Alex Gordon's two-run homer in the ninth propelled Kansas City (74-58) to a 2-1 victory Tuesday, the Royals scored all their runs in the eighth inning for a 6-1 win.

"That's kind of who we are,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''We're a team that plays with a lot of heart, with a lot of energy and a lot of passion.''

Billy Butler and Salvador Perez each had two RBIs as the Royals increased their AL Central lead over Detroit to 2 1/2 games with their 26th win in 34 games and 10th in the last 12 at home.

''We're just living on a high right now,'' outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. ''We're going out and having fun and playing like we're 5 years old.''

Kansas City owns a 26-12 run advantage during a four-game winning streak over the Twins (58-74), who have been held to 10 hits in this series.

''We've scored two runs in two games here,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''That's not going to win very many games.''

Jeremy Guthrie (10-10, 4.32 ERA) has posted a 2.85 ERA while winning five of his last six versus Minnesota. He allowed four runs and struck out seven in seven innings of a 12-6 win at Target Field on Aug. 17.

Though the right-hander tossed a four-hitter during a 13-0 victory last August in his most recent home outing against the Twins, Guthrie is 1-2 with an 8.57 ERA in his last four at Kauffman Stadium.

Guthrie hopes to build on Saturday's start when he allowed a leadoff homer to Shin-Soo Choo and four other hits in eight innings of a 6-3 victory at Texas.

Though Tommy Milone (6-4, 4.08) was tagged for seven runs in 1 1-3 innings against Guthrie and the Royals on Aug. 17, he's 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA at Kansas City.

Milone followed this month's start against the Royals by giving up five runs - three earned - and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 20-6 rout of Detroit on Friday.

The left-hander is 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA in three starts since Minnesota acquired him from Oakland last month.

Butler is 6 for 14 versus Millone while Perez is 3 for 8 with a double.

Joe Mauer is 9 for 25 with three home runs versus Guthrie, but 3 for 21 with six strikeouts in five games at Kansas City this season.

After an announced crowd of 13,847 on Tuesday caused Yost to lament the lackluster turnout, he seemed more pleased with the 17,668 who showed up Wednesday.

In position to reach the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in 1985, the Royals are on pace to draw about 1.9 million fans - the best single-season mark since 1993.

''I just think it's extremely important that our fans get the opportunity to come out and enjoy this with us," Yost said.

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