Minnesota Twins veteran Joe Mauer answered seeing his 14-game hitting streak come to a halt by picking up where he left off, much to the chagrin of the Kansas City Royals. The 34-year-old looks to ride the momentum of his three-hit performance in the opener when the Twins face the Royals in the second contest of their four-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Mauer, who had two singles and a double in Thursday’s 4-2 win, has reached base in 16 straight games as the Twins bolstered their lead to one full game over the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card spot in the American League. Mauer is 10-for-16 versus the Royals in his last four meetings, but is just 4-for-22 in his career versus Friday starter Ian Kennedy. Lorenzo Cain is 9-for-17 during his five-game hitting streak and is 6-for-20 against Friday starter Ervin Santana. Whit Merrifield also carries a five-game hitting streak for the Royals, who reside 3 1/2 games in back of the Twins.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Ervin Santana (14-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Royals RH Ian Kennedy (4-10, 5.37)
Santana will look for a better showing against Kansas City than the one he put forth in his last outing, as he allowed four runs on eight hits in a no-decision on Sunday. The 34-year-old Dominican has worked at least six innings in seven of his last eight outings, with a 3-0 mark to show for it. Santana owns a 1-1 mark in three outings versus the Royals this season, although he has yielded 12 runs on 18 hits - including four homers - in 19 innings.
Kennedy put a disastrous August (0-4, 9.57 ERA) behind him by allowing two earned runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision versus Minnesota. The 32-year-old owns an 0-2 mark in four encounters against the Twins this season despite limiting the club to a .194 batting average. Eduardo Escobar is batting a robust 8-for-19 against Kennedy, although the right-hander has kept Jorge Polanco (0-for-7) and Brian Dozier (5-for-24) under wraps.
1. Polanco has recorded multi-hit performances in back-to-back games and four times over his last seven.
2. Royals 1B Eric Hosmer had two hits in the series opener and is 21-for-59 versus the Twins this season.
3. Dozier is 2-for-20 in his last five games, although the two hits were homers.
PREDICTION: Royals 5, Twins 3