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Wind: ENE 12.7
Minnesota Twins (11-11) at Kansas City Royals (7-15)
Sunday, April 30 - 2:15 PM EST
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Minnesota's Joe Mauer is a bona fide thorn in the side of the Royals, and he'll try to inflict more damage when the Twins visit Kansas City on Sunday afternoon for the finale of the rain-shortened series. Mauer's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning provided Minnesota a 6-4 victory on Friday, giving him a .318 average with 39 doubles and 114 RBIs in 194 games versus the Royals, who have lost eight in a row.
Mauer and the Twins temporarily were cooled down by the weather, which forced Saturday's game to be postponed and made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on July 1. Saturday's scheduled pitchers were pushed back a day, with Minnesota's Phil Hughes (3-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three road starts this season) squaring off against fellow right-hander Jason Hammel, who still is looking for his first victory in a Kansas City uniform. The red-hot Miguel Sano is 8-for-12 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last three games after belting a two-run shot and preceeding Mauer's hit with a two-run double of his own. The Royals, who were swept in a three-game series by Minnesota to start the season and outscored 21-5 in the process, are last in the majors with 58 runs and also have the worst average with runners in scoring position at .159.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Phil Hughes (3-1, 4.71 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jason Hammel (0-2, 5.30)
Hughes allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory at Texas on Monday and also has defeated Detroit and the Chicago White Sox on the road this season. The 30-year-old Californian, who is 10-21 with a 5.53 ERA in 42 April starts, has recorded only 13 strikeouts in 21 frames this season. Hughes is 7-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) versus Kansas City, including 4-3, 5.49 in seven turns at Kauffman Stadium.
Hammel yielded three runs, four hits and three walks in three innings of a 5-2 loss at Texas on Sunday after his only quality start of the season versus San Francisco on April 18, when he settled for a no-decision after permitting one run in six frames of a 2-1 setback. It is an uncharacteristically slow start for the 34-year-old South Carolina native, who is 21-12 with a 3.87 ERA in 48 April appearances (45 starts). Hammel is 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) versus Minnesota.
1. Twins LF Eddie Rosario owns a 10-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .368 after going 2-for-4 with a run scored in the series opener.
2. Royals 1B Eric Hosmer is 5-for-12 in his last three games, raising his average to .224, and recorded his first RBI in 11 contests on Friday.
3. Mauer ranks sixth all-time in batting average against the Royals (minimum 500 at-bats), trailing Rod Carew (.345), Ivan Rodriguez (.337), Wade Boggs (.332), Alex Rodriguez (.329) and Derek Jeter (.322).
PREDICTION: Twins 3, Royals 2