Nathan Karns has been superb over his last three starts, and the Kansas City Royals are hopeful he will put forth another strong effort when they open a 10-game road trip against the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Karns is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings during the stretch and looks to have his first good outing against the Twins in the opener of the three-game series.
Karns struck out a career-best 12 in five innings against Baltimore in his last start but did not factor in the decision. The Royals are winless in five games against the Twins this season, and Karns experienced issues in his first appearance with the club as he allowed four runs while recording only two outs in a relief appearance on April 5. Minnesota halted a three-game slide with a 2-0 victory over Colorado in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader. The Twins totaled only three runs in the twinbill and have scored 14 in their last six contests.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Nate Karns (2-2, 4.46 ERA) vs. Twins LH Hector Santiago (4-2, 3.80)
Karns has struggled greatly against the Twins as he has a 17.55 ERA and 3.00 WHIP over 6 2/3 innings in three career appearances (two starts). Minnesota's Miguel Sano is 2-for-2 with a homer and six RBIs against Karns, including a three-run triple in the April contest. The 29-year-old Karns has struggled on the road this season, going 1-2 with a 6.56 ERA in five appearances (four starts).
Santiago is coming off his worst outing of the season as he gave up six runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings while losing to Cleveland. The 29-year-old won his previous three decisions and also defeated the Royals on April 5, when he gave up one run and four hits over five frames. Santiago is 3-3 with a 3.82 ERA in 16 career appearances (10 starts) versus Kansas City and has shut down Mike Moustakas (1-for-17) while struggling with Alcides Escobar (10-for-24).
1. The Twins have outscored the Royals 34-14 this year, including 21-5 during the season-opening three-game series in Minnesota.
2. Moustakas hit a three-run homer in Thursday's 5-1 win over the New York Yankees, giving him two blasts and eight RBIs over his last four games.
3. Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier was 0-for-9 with three strikeouts in Thursday's doubleheader.
PREDICTION: Royals 4, Twins 3