MLB

more stats

American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, August 1st (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (53-51) at Minnesota Twins (45-59), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - James Shields (5-7, 3.09) Minnesota - Scott Diamond (5-9, 5.26)

(Sports Network) - The Kansas City Royals are currently playing some of their best baseball of the season and they'll look to keep it going on Thursday when they wrap up a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Kansas City has won a season-best eight in a row and is off to a 5-0 start on its nine-game road trip. The Royals began their winning streak with a three- game home sweep over the Baltimore Orioles, then went on to sweep the White Sox in Chicago this past weekend.

The win streak is their longest since jumping out to a 9-0 start in 2003, which also marked the last season the team was over .500 this late in the year.

Still, the Royals (53-51) remain seven games back in the American League Central as their run has coincided with similar stretches by the division leaders. Detroit has won five in a row and nine of 10, while Cleveland is working on a seven-game win streak. Kansas City is 4 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild card spot.

"We're just hoping to continue it every day," said designated hitter Billy Butler. "Everybody in here doesn't want to be the guy that ends the streak. That's the type of pressure we want to put ourselves in."

Jeremy Guthrie was the winning pitcher in Wednesday's 4-3 victory, as he allowed two runs over six innings to improve to 11-7. He walked in a run in the sixth inning but managed to escape a no-out, bases-loaded jam with no further damage. Royals closer Greg Holland later came on to convert his 21st consecutive save opportunity, and 28th overall on the season.

Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon made a costly fielding error in the seventh inning when he could not come up with a ground ball with a man on third and two outs. Another run would eventually score as a 2-2 game turned into a 4-2 Royals' lead.

Minnesota's (45-59) offense went a disastrous 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

"We left a lot of people out there, a lot of strikeouts again," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We need to put the ball in play a few more times in those situations. I know they made some pitches but boy, we looked like a couple times we really didn't even need to swing."

Gardenhire will turn to Scott Diamond to try and avoid the sweep on Thursday. Diamond has gone 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA over his last six starts but held Seattle to one run in 6 2/3 innings on Friday.

Meanwhile, ace James Shields toes the rubber for Kansas City. He tossed seven scoreless frames in Friday's 5-1 win over the White Sox to improve to 5-7 with a 3.09 ERA on the season.

"Forget the record," manager Ned Yost said. "The record doesn't tell a quarter of the story of the way he's pitched all year. He's been really, really good. He's an innings eater, he keeps us in the game every time. We've just struggled to score runs for him."

Shields faced Minnesota on June 28 and gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings as Kansas City won, 9-3.

Yost said the newly-acquired Justin Maxwell (Houston) will likely make his Royals debut in center field with a lefty on the mound and Lorenzo Cain continuing to deal with a left groin injury. Maxwell, a right-handed bat, is hitting .302 against lefties this season.

The Royals are aiming for their first sweep in Minnesota since winning all four games from May 7-10, 1999.

08/01 10:26:26 ET

  • NASL: RailHawks vs. Ft. Lauderdale

    Today at 7:30 am on WRAL-2

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Atlanta Braves at NY Mets

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CHC 1
CIN 4
Final
PIT 3
MIL 5
Final
WAS 3
STL 1
Final
CLE 2
TOR 3
Final
DET 6
ANA 11
Final
NYM 0
ATL 6
Final
BOS 4
BAL 8
Final
TAM 11
NYY 5
Final
MIA 8
SEA 4
Final
TEX 12
CWS 0
Final
KAN 5
MIN 0
Final
COL 12
PHI 1
Final
OAK 11
HOU 3
Final
LOS 2
ARI 4
Final
SDP 2
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
12:30pm Today
TOR
BRK
3:30pm Today
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
TAM 1
MON 4
Final
BOS 0
DET 1
Final
ANA 3
DAL 2
3:00pm Today
STL
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR