The AL Central-leading Twins are coming off last night's 6-2 victory over the Royals in the second installment of this set, as starting pitcher Carl Pavano delivered eight innings of two-run ball to even his 2010 mark at 6-6. Jon Rauch hurled a scoreless ninth inning to preserve Minnesota's sixth straight win in the Twin Cities.
"I made some pitches and these guys hung in there and made some great plays. We didn't let any innings get away from us," Pavano said.
Minnesota has won two in a row, four of five and nine of its last 13 games, and sits 4 1/2 games in front of Detroit for the AL Central lead. It will also host Atlanta and Colorado on the current homestand. Scott Baker hopes to extend the division lead when he takes the ball tonight for the Twins. He is 5-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 12 starts this season and did not figure into the decision of last Friday's 5-4 win at Oakland.
Baker was reached for four runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings against the A's. He will face Kansas City for a second time this season and beat the Royals back on April 16 in a 10-3 triumph at Target Field, hurling seven innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts.
The right-hander, who owns a 4-1 record in six home starts this season, is 8-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 career starts against KC.
Kansas City hopes to salvage the finale of this set with Minnesota after coming up short in the first two portions. After a four-run loss in the series opener, the Royals continued to falter with Wednesday's second consecutive four-run defeat.
Kyle Davies was dealt the loss for surrendering five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings. Billy Butler and Jason Kendall were each credited with an RBI for Kansas City, which has lost three of four and eight of its last 11 games.
"I felt like we had chances to put some more runs on the board and maybe turn this into a different outcome," Butler said after the loss.
Bruce Chen is slated to make his third start of the season tonight and is 2-0 with a 2.95 earned run average in 12 games (2 starts) this season. He won his last trip to the hill on Friday in a 7-3 victory versus Detroit, as he held the Tigers to two runs and four hits in five innings of work.
Chen, a left-hander from Panama City, is 0-2 with a 5.75 ERA in 11 career games -- one start -- against Minnesota.
Minnesota leads the 2010 season series with Kansas City by a 6-2 margin and is 18-8 in the previous 26 meetings between the clubs.