Royals at Twins
The Kansas City Royals are a big reason why the Minnesota Twins find themselves atop the American League Central in 2017, and the Twins' most recent victory in this rivalry may be just the lift they need to catch some fire at home. Following a dramatic comeback win in Friday's opener, Minnesota eyes an eighth straight victory against Kansas City one day later when the teams continue their three-game set at Target Field.
The Twins improved to 6-0 against the Royals this season courtesy of Friday's 4-3, 10-inning triumph, as pinch hitter Kennys Vargas belted a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and Jorge Polanco ended it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th. Minnesota improved to 10-12 at home as a result and tied a club record for its longest winning streak against the Royals and further distance itself from the team against whom it went 4-15 a season ago. The Twins' 10th comeback victory of the season overshadowed one of the best performances in Jorge Bonifacio's career, as the rookie outfielder hit a two-run homer, had an outfield assist and made a jumping catch at the wall to rob Brian Dozier of an extra-base hit. The loss dropped the Royals to 3-13 against division rivals.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Kansas City, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Ian Kennedy (0-3, 3.03 ERA) vs. Twins LH Adalberto Mejia (0-1, 5.79)
Kennedy (hamstring) is expected to be activated off the disabled list in time to make his first start since a May 4 loss to the Chicago White Sox in which he surrendered five runs (four earned) across 4 1/3 innings. The outing was the worst of the six this season from the 32-year-old, who posted a 2.30 ERA in his five April turns. Dozier (4-for-20, two homers) and Joe Mauer (3-for-19, one home run) have each struggled against Kennedy, who is 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts versus the Twins.
Mejia is slated to return to the big-league mound for the first time since April 22 on only three days rest after allowing a hit over three scoreless innings for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday. The 23-year-old rookie struggled in his final turn before his demotion against Detroit, giving up three runs on five hits - including a pair of homers - and three walks despite fanning six over 2 2/3 innings. Mejia's one and only appearance last season came against the Royals, who tagged him for two runs in 2 1/3 frames.
1. Mauer needs to score one more run to tie Kent Hrbek (903) for the fourth on the club's all-time list (since 1961).
2. Kansas City SS Alcides Escobar will break Paul Schaal’s team record of 212 straight starts if he appears in the lineup Saturday.
3. Minnesota 3B Miguel Sano went 2-for-4 in the opener to maintain his .500 batting average against Kansas City in 2017. Fourteen of Sano's 30 RBIs this season have come against the Royals.