Twins hope to build on recent success at Royals

MLB

Now that the Minnesota Twins have momentarily ended their struggles at Kansas City, they can focus on winning a fourth consecutive series.

The Twins aim to do so in the rubber game of their road series against the Royals on the Sunday.

Minnesota had lost five straight games at Kansas City before winning 7-2 on Saturday. Eddie Rosario hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Miguel Sano also homered and finished with three RBIs for the Twins, who are 8-4 since losing four in a row from Aug. 6-9.

Sano is batting .409 (9-for-22) with seven extra-base hits over his last six games. He’s 4-for-11 in his last three against the Royals. According to the Twins’ official website, Sano has been working with a velocity pitching machine to fare better against fastballs.

Which he did on Saturday.

“I’ve been doing it with (hitting coaches Rudy Hernandez and Edgar Varela) right now,” Sano told the club’s official website this week. “I try to get on top of the ball because when I do that, I’m a better hitter. That’s something we have been doing the last few days. And, I feel much better at the plate now.”

Kansas City won four in a row from Aug. 6-9 but is 4-6 since. Alex Gordon did knock his third home run of the season on Saturday for the Royals. He’s 5-for-15 with two of those home runs in his last five contests after going 0-for-13 in his previous five games.

The Royals will turn to Kris Bubic (0-3, 5.12 ERA), who tries a fifth time for his first career victory. The left-hander will also make his second straight start against the Twins after allowing a solo homer to Nelson Cruz and one other run while walking four in 4 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss at Minnesota on Monday

“I thought he was good again,” manager Mike Matheny told the Royals’ official website. “You got five innings and give up two, and one was a solo home run on a pitch that got too much of the plate against a guy who has just been hot.

“But, he just continues to make good pitches. If you’re going to nitpick, it’s just about getting deeper into games. How can we keep having 20-pitch innings? He has (a) special makeup, and when it clicks, when he can catch more of the plate and get some quick outs, it’s going to take him to a completely different level.”

The Twins are going with bullpen day on Sunday. Matt Wisler (0-1, 1.50 ERA) reportedly will get the ball first for Minnesota.

The right-hander has made seven appearances in 2020, with the most recent coming as a starter against the Royals on Monday — opposite Bubic. In that contest, Wisler struck out three, allowed a walk and beaned a batter without a hit over two scoreless innings.

While Gordon is 0-for-5 lifetime versus Wisler, Kansas City third baseman Maikel Franco is 6-for-13 with two doubles and two home runs against him.

–Field Level Media

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