(SportsNetwork.com) – The Kansas City Royals will try to win their third
straight series to start the season when they close out a three-game set
against the Minnesota Twins Thursday afternoon at Target Field.
The Royals were hoping for an 8-0 start, but the Twins had other plans with a
3-1 victory on Wednesday. Oswaldo Arcia belted a two-run homer in the fourth
inning off Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez to break a 1-1 tie.
Volquez took the loss and allowed three runs, five hits and walked one batter
across 7 2/3 innings. He struck out seven. Twins starter Kyle Gibson continued
his success against the Royals, giving up a run on nine hits with no walks
over 6 2/3 innings to improve to 4-0 in four career starts.
“He commanded the ball really well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Gibson.
Alcides Escobar recorded three hits and Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 with an RBI
for the Royals, who won the opener of this series, 12-3, on Monday. The Royals
started 9-0 back in 2003.
Escobar is riding a 17-game hitting streak dating back to last season
Kansas City will return home this weekend to start a six-game stay at Kauffman
Stadium versus Oakland and Minnesota.
Taking the mound Thursday for the Royals will be Jason Vargas. Vargas won his
season debut last Friday in a 4-2 victory over the L.A. Angels and he allowed
two runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked one.
The left-hander has faced Minnesota 13 times (12 starts) in his career and is
5-3 with a 3.65 ERA. Vargas was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in four meetings with the
Twins last season.
Minnesota ended a three-game slide with Wednesday’s triumph and posted its
second victory of the season (2-6).
Gibson was able to control KC’s lineup and relievers Brian Duensing, Casey
Fien and Glen Perkins combined to toss 2 1/3 shutout innings.
“When you get a good starting pitching performance, it just makes everybody’s
job a little bit easier,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Perkins struck out one in a perfect ninth for his first save and passed Al
Worthington for sole possession of sixth place on the Twins’ all-time list.
The Twins allowed 23 runs during their losing streak.
Danny Santana went 1-for-4 with a run scored and has hit safely in 21 of his
last 23 games with an at-bat at Target Field.
Minnesota will hand Tommy Milone the ball Thursday and the left-hander was
brilliant in his season debut last Friday against the Chicago White Sox.
Milone fired 7 2/3 shutout innings in the 6-0 win and scattered just two hits
with seven K’s and a pair of walks.
Milone has a 3-2 mark and a 3.75 ERA in six career starts against Kansas City.
The Twins target their first series win of the season Thursday and will host
Cleveland for three games this weekend.
Kansas City won 11 of its 19 matchups with the Twins a year ago.