Twins-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals own one of the worst home records in baseball, but that hasn't been evident when facing the Minnesota Twins.

After ending the longest single-season home losing streak in franchise history, the Royals will try to capitalize on another meeting with their AL Central rivals in the finale of this three-game set Thursday night.

Kansas City (24-32) occupies the division basement partly due to an 11-15 home record.

The Royals' struggles as host were on display for a month, dropping 11 straight while the rotation compiled a 5.17 ERA and the offense batted .209 and averaged 2.1 runs.

They were four-hit in a shutout loss to open the series, but the Royals regrouped by winning 4-1 on Wednesday to end their lengthy slide at Kauffman Stadium.

"We hadn't just been playing bad here. We'd been playing bad in general, everywhere we've been," said designated hitter Billy Butler, who had three hits and drove in a run. "Hopefully this gets us going, gives us a little momentum boost."

The Royals have had plenty versus the Twins (26-30), winning seven of the past nine meetings overall, including four of five at home this year.

Despite the team's struggles, Butler is 9 for 15 over the past five home games. He's a .337 hitter over 54 career games at home versus Minnesota, batting .451 with 12 RBIs over the past 13.

Butler could be in for another big day against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.66 ERA), who has allowed opponents to hit .332.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in five starts, as he continues to struggle in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"I'm probably the least patient person you've met," Pelfrey told the team's official website. "I've busted my tail to come back from this as fast as I have. I'd like to see results. I'd like for it to be going better than it is. At the end of the day, it eats me alive. So it stinks."

It certainly has in the sixth inning of each of his last two starts, as he's surrendered seven of eight total runs. He's also issued seven walks in 11 innings over that stretch.

Pelfrey gave up all of the scoring in the sixth of Friday's 3-0 loss to Seattle, getting pulled with one out while tossing 101 pitches.

"Right now with Pelf, it's about command," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He needs more consistency with his pitches."

That may have been the case at Kansas City on April 9, when Pelfrey was tagged for six runs and eight hits in two innings of a 7-4 loss in his only career meeting against the Royals.

Kansas City will counter Pelfrey with Wade Davis (3-5, 6.16), who is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA over his last five games - four starts - versus Minnesota.

The right-hander, however, hasn't come close to being that effective of late, going 1-5 with a 7.68 ERA over his last eight starts. That includes going 0-3 with a 7.77 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .337 with five homers in four home games.

Davis is also coming off one of his worst performances of the season, getting tagged for six runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-2 loss at Texas on Friday.

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