The Royals open a three-game road set against the Twins on Tuesday night.
Kansas City is 26-27 against the AL Central this year, losing 10 of 15 against Minnesota.
The Royals (63-77) have won five of their last six series against division rivals, dropping two of three to Minnesota to begin September.
Kansas City won two of three at first-place Chicago over the weekend, taking the series with a 2-1 win in 10 innings Sunday.
Salvador Perez went 2 for 5 and is batting .356 (21 for 59) with eight RBIs and 10 runs scored during a career-best 14-game hitting streak. He's hitting .393 (11 for 28) in eight games against Minnesota this year.
The Royals have been outscored 22-11 during a three-game skid at Target Field.
Minnesota (59-82) seeks a fourth straight victory after taking the final three games of its four-game set with Cleveland. The Twins last won four straight June 30-July 3 when they put together a season-high five-game run.
Justin Morneau drove in a pair of runs in Monday's 7-2 victory after he had two homers and three RBIs on Sunday.
Joe Mauer went 7 for 16 with three RBIs in the four-game series against the Indians, and should be looking forward to facing the Royals again. Mauer is batting .425 (17 for 40) with two homers, four doubles, nine RBIs and nine runs in 11 games this season versus Kansas CIty.
Morneau is 2 for 5 with a home run and double against Will Smith (4-7, 5.45 ERA), who takes the ball for the Royals on Tuesday.
Smith is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts and facing the Twins isn't likely to help him end that skid. The rookie left-hander is 0-2 with an 8.44 in two outings against Minnesota, both at home.
The Twins counter with Scott Diamond (11-6, 3.35), who snapped a four-start winless streak last Tuesday against Chicago, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings of an 18-9 victory.
It was the fifth time this season Minnesota provided him with double-digit run support.
"I can't complain, that's for sure," said Diamond, whose 7.5 run-support average is easily the largest in the majors.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against the Royals this year. He allowed four runs and matched a career high with 10 hits over six innings in a 7-3 loss July 21 in Kansas City.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is 4 for 7 against Diamond.
|Kansas City Royals|
|August 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|August 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - fractured left thumb|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|September 02, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Slightly strained left hamstring|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Sore right collarbone|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||15-Day DL||Strained right sternoclavicular joint|
|August 24, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 12, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder injury|
|July 25, 2012||Anthony Swarzak||15-Day DL||Mild right rotator cuff strain|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Will Smith is probably auditioning for a spot in Kansas City's rotation next season.
Having Salvador Perez as his catcher sure helps his cause.
Smith pitched seven shutout innings, Eric Hosmer homered and the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 9-1 on Tuesday night.
Lorenzo Cain had two RBIs and was a home run away from the cycle as Kansas City beat Minnesota for just the sixth time in 16 games.
Perez extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games and threw out two runners trying to steal in support of Smith (5-7), who struck out a career-high seven and gave up seven hits in his first win in four starts.
"That guy's awesome," Smith said about Perez. "He's so good. You love having him back there. You feel confident that the running game, he's just going to completely shut it down."
Ryan Doumit had the Twins' RBI and Ben Revere had three hits.
Joe Mauer was in the initial starting lineup, but was scratched after experiencing back spasms before batting practice.
The atmosphere at Target Field brought back memories of the Metrodome, and not only because of all the empty seats for a September game featuring two teams out of contention.
With two outs and two runners on in the second inning, Cain hit a towering fly to left field. Josh Willingham lost it in the sky, holding out his hands as the ball fell 15 feet behind him and both runners scored.
Outfielders losing flyballs was a common occurrence under the white Teflon roof of the Metrodome, but hasn't been a problem under the lights at Target Field.
"It was just the time of day. It's frustrating when you can't see the ball," Willingham said. "You can't catch it if you can't see it. Can't see it, it's pretty helpless."
The miscue didn't help Scott Diamond (11-7) get back on track.
The left-hander allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings and has just one victory in his last six starts.
The first two Twins batters reached in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but they couldn't break through against Smith.
Perez threw out basestealers to help erase the threats in the first and fifth, and Smith got Ryan Doumit to ground into a double play and struck out Trevor Plouffe to end the fourth.
The Twins had 16 stolen bases in their last 11 games, but were no match for Perez's strong arm and quick release. Jamey Carroll and Darin Mastroianni fell victim to Perez on Tuesday.
"It kept the momentum on our side," manager Ned Yost said about Perez, who has caught 11 of the last 21 runners trying to steal on him.
Cain got hit in the head by reliever Luis Perdomo in the eighth.
The ball appeared to hit Cain in the back of his helmet as he ducked, but Cain sat up quickly and remained in the game after sitting in the batter's box and getting checked out by trainers.
"The guys definitely let me know I was a home run away from the cycle," Cain said. "I was looking for a pitch to drive and ended up getting hit in the head. I went down for a second, but I'll be fine. Bounced back up and I'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Cain also said the back of his head was a little sore and he had a light headache.
The Royals scored five runs in the eighth and ninth, capped by Hosmer's 14th home run.
Alcides Escobar added two hits and two RBIs.
NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said center fielder Denard Span , out since Aug. 28 with a sprained SC joint, could return on Wednesday when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. ... Twins right fielder Chris Parmelee missed his second straight game with a groin injury and is day to day. ... Smith won for the first time since Aug. 15. ... The Twins announced a crowd of 28,993 on Tuesday. Monday's crowd of 27,526 was the lowest in Target Field history. ... Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.35) pitches for Kansas City on Wednesday. The former No. 1 overall draft pick needs four strikeouts to match his career high of 128 set last season. ... P.J. Walters (2-3, 6.05) starts for Minnesota. Walters allowed five runs on Sept. 5 against the Chicago White Sox, his first start since coming off the disabled list.