After ending the longest single-season home losing streak in franchise history, the Royals will try to capitalize on another meeting with their AL Central rivals in the finale of this three-game set Thursday night.
Kansas City (24-32) occupies the division basement partly due to an 11-15 home record.
The Royals' struggles as host were on display for a month, dropping 11 straight while the rotation compiled a 5.17 ERA and the offense batted .209 and averaged 2.1 runs.
They were four-hit in a shutout loss to open the series, but the Royals regrouped by winning 4-1 on Wednesday to end their lengthy slide at Kauffman Stadium.
"We hadn't just been playing bad here. We'd been playing bad in general, everywhere we've been," said designated hitter Billy Butler , who had three hits and drove in a run. "Hopefully this gets us going, gives us a little momentum boost."
The Royals have had plenty versus the Twins (26-30), winning seven of the past nine meetings overall, including four of five at home this year.
Despite the team's struggles, Butler is 9 for 15 over the past five home games. He's a .337 hitter over 54 career games at home versus Minnesota, batting .451 with 12 RBIs over the past 13.
Butler could be in for another big day against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.66 ERA), who has allowed opponents to hit .332.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in five starts, as he continues to struggle in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
"I'm probably the least patient person you've met," Pelfrey told the team's official website. "I've busted my tail to come back from this as fast as I have. I'd like to see results. I'd like for it to be going better than it is. At the end of the day, it eats me alive. So it stinks."
It certainly has in the sixth inning of each of his last two starts, as he's surrendered seven of eight total runs. He's also issued seven walks in 11 innings over that stretch.
Pelfrey gave up all of the scoring in the sixth of Friday's 3-0 loss to Seattle, getting pulled with one out while tossing 101 pitches.
"Right now with Pelf, it's about command," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He needs more consistency with his pitches."
That may have been the case at Kansas City on April 9, when Pelfrey was tagged for six runs and eight hits in two innings of a 7-4 loss in his only career meeting against the Royals.
Kansas City will counter Pelfrey with Wade Davis (3-5, 6.16), who is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA over his last five games - four starts - versus Minnesota.
The right-hander, however, hasn't come close to being that effective of late, going 1-5 with a 7.68 ERA over his last eight starts. That includes going 0-3 with a 7.77 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .337 with five homers in four home games.
Davis is also coming off one of his worst performances of the season, getting tagged for six runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-2 loss at Texas on Friday.
|June 01, 2013||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 26, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||7-Day DL||Head injury|
|May 23, 2013||Pedro Florimon||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right index finger|
|May 22, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|May 22, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|Kansas City Royals|
|May 16, 2013||Jarrod Dyson||15-Day DL||Right ankle sprain|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It started with a double by Alex Gordon , gained momentum on a single by Eric Hosmer and another double by Billy Butler , and then was capped off by a two-run shot from Lorenzo Cain .
It was a four-run eighth inning by the Kansas City Royals .
It was the kind of outburst that hasn't happened often.
In this case, it carried the Royals to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night and to back-to-back wins for the first time since May 4-5. But the big inning also represented as many runs as the scuffling Kansas City offense had produced in any of its last 14 games.
"We're getting better. We're starting to come out of it," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The offense looks like it's starting to turn the corner a little bit."
The Royals began the season 17-10 before winning six of their next 28 games, their collapse lowlighted by a franchise-record 11-game home skid that ended Wednesday night.
Now they're on a winning streak, modest though it may be.
"We've always felt confidence. We had a bad May. That's all I can say," Butler said. "We had a bad May, but our confidence has never been wavering. You saw it tonight. We got down 3-0 and battled back and kind of exploded there in the eighth."
The Royals hadn't scored seven runs in a game since beating the Astros on May 21.
Wade Davis allowed three unearned runs before the Royals bullpen took control. Luke Hochevar , Tim Collins (2-1) and Greg Holland combined for four scoreless innings to wrap up the win.
"You can see a little more chemistry and contagious hitting-type things like tonight, and a little bit yesterday, chipping away and chipping away," Davis said. "We're not going to wake up and be the best in baseball, but we just have to keep chipping away."
All of the Royals' runs in the eighth came off Jared Burton (0-3), who allowed Hosmer's go-ahead single and an RBI double by Butler before serving up Cain's homer to left field.
"It's not magic, guys. You either execute or you get executed. This one hurts," Burton said. "We got off to an early lead. It's a tough one to lose. We needed this series."
Instead, the Royals won their first since taking two of three from the Angels in mid-May.
"At the end we kind of let it get away," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Things began well enough for Minnesota when Jamey Carroll led off the game with a grounder that third baseman Mike Moustakas fielded cleanly and then threw over Hosmer's head at first base for an error. Carroll ended up on second, and eventually reached third on a groundout.
The errors were only beginning for Kansas City.
Josh Willingham proceeded to strike out on a wild pitch that not only allowed him to reach base but also allowed Carroll to score. Two batters later, Ryan Doumit went deep for the second time in the series to give the Twins a 3-0 lead - all on one hit.
"That first inning had some weird stuff happen," Davis said. "I just kept telling myself, `Keep it right there,' especially when we scored the two runs. It gave me extra motivation to bear down."
The two runs came in the second on a single by Chris Getz , and the Royals finally tied the game in the sixth when Hosmer doubled and Salvador Perez drove him home with a single.
That kept both starting pitchers from factoring in the decision.
The Twins' Mike Pelfrey , whom the Royals tagged for six runs in two innings in April, went a season-best 6 1-3 on Thursday night. He allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk.
Davis needed 107 pitches to get through five innings for Kansas City, thanks in part to his shaky defense. He allowed four hits and three walks, but all three runs off him were unearned.
It was the first time he hadn't allowed an earned run in a start since April 17.
"That's kind of the way it's been for Wade. He finds ways to bend a little bit but never breaks, or seldom breaks, but always gets his pitch count up high," Yost said. "He gets himself into trouble and pitches himself out of it, and he did that again tonight."
NOTES: The Royals claimed 3B/OF Edinson Rincon off waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. They also sent OF Jarrod Dyson (right ankle sprain) on a rehab trip to Triple-A Omaha. ... The Twins head to Washington for the first time under manager Ron Gardenhire , though he pointed out he's been there before. He visited the White House after the '91 Twins won the World Series. RHP Kevin Correia pitches the opener against the Nationals on Friday night. ... RHP James Shields will start Friday night for Kansas City against Houston.