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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Minnesota0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 190
Kansas City0 0 5 0 0 0 1 0 x 6110
  W: H. Bailey (7-6)   L: M. Pineda (4-4)   S: K. McCarthy (1)
11:15 AM PT12:15 PM MT1:15 PM CT2:15 PM ET14:15 ET18:15 GMT2:15 11:15 AM MST1:15 PM EST1:45 PM VEN22:15 UAE1:15 PM CT, June 23, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri  Attendance: 21,257

Twins hope to ride Sano to a series win over KC

According to STATS
According to STATS

Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

  1. The Twins swept a two-game set at Kansas City in April, and have won three in row there dating to last season after losing their previous eight games at Kauffman Stadium. Minnesota hasn't won three consecutive games at Kansas City in a single season since 2012.
  2. Max Kepler has homered in consecutive games and is now up to 19 on the season -- one fewer than his career high set last year. Over the last month since May 20, Kepler is slugging an AL-best .760 and is second in the AL in batting (.344) (min. 100 PA) and tied for second in homers (10) and RBI (27).
  3. The player tied with Kepler for second in homers since May 20, is Jorge Soler, whose 25 RBI in that span are tied for fourth in the AL. Soler's 10 homers in his last 27 games match his home run total from his first 47 contests.
  4. Jorge Polanco has reached base safely in 32 consecutive games -- one better than the Yankees' Luke Voit for the longest in the majors this season. His on-base streak is the longest by a Twin in a single season since Joe Mauer reached in 43 straight games in 2015.
  5. Jake Odorizzi permitted four runs in six innings against the Royals on Saturday after yielding just four runs over 47 2/3 innings in his previous eight starts combined. Whit Merrifield homered off Odorizzi last week, and is 7-for-13 (.538) with three home runs all-time against him.
  6. The Royals lost 8-2 at Seattle on Wednesday after totaling 23 runs in winning their previous three games. Since June 1, Kansas City is averaging 6.5 runs in its six wins compared to 1.9 runs in its 11 defeats.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 6/20/2019 thru 6/23/2019

There are multiple ways to explain why some players hit well against certain teams. There's denial, which is the explanation of choice for Royals manager Ned Yost. And then there's the bewilderment of Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.

The point of the discussion is the Twins' Miguel Sano, who has owned the Royals in his short major league career. Sano and the Twins face the Royals on Sunday afternoon in the conclusion of a four-game series in Kansas City.

Homer Bailey (6-6, 4.82) will get the assignment of trying to shut down Sano. He made his Royals debut April 3 in Minneapolis. He took a no-decision, allowing three runs on five hits in five innings. He had a season-high eight strikeouts. He's 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA against the Twins, with his only other start coming in 2012 while with Cincinnati. He's never faced Sano.

Michael Pineda (4-3, 4.76 ERA) will pitch for the Twins, who are trying to take the series three games to one. They lost the opener Thursday before taking the last two. Pineda is 5-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 starts against Kansas City. Sunday will be his first appearance against the Royals in 2019.

Sano has more home runs (12) and RBIs (43) against the Royals than he has against any other team. It doesn't matter how he's doing otherwise; when Sano faces Kansas City pitching, he rakes.

An example was Friday, when Sano hit a game-tying home run in the top of the eighth inning of Minnesota's 8-7 victory after striking out the first three at-bats. Another example was Saturday, when he led off the second inning with a 454-foot blast to center field.

"I don't know that he's hit well against us," Yost said prior to Saturday's game. "He didn't hit well against us last year. The first year you're getting to know the guy. I don't think he's hitting well against us this year. He hit a home run yesterday.

"There's no 'mentality' involved. It's the talent of your pitching staff. If you've got good pitchers, (he's) not going to hit well against them. I don't know that he's exceptionally killing us."

Yost also noted that, besides the home run, Sano struck out four times on Friday, but Sano doesn't just whiff against Kansas City. He's struck out 632 times in 407 career games.

Baldelli, who had a seven-year playing career, said he doesn't understand why it happens.

"I have no answer to that question," Baldelli said, "but it's definitely the case. You don't know whether it's a little random. You don't whether it's the pitchers that the guy matches up reasonably well against, or if it's the ballpark. There are a lot of different factors that go into it.

"Every single hitter, whether you're a major league hitter, or a guy who plays in the minors, in college, in high school or wherever, there are always teams and players that you feel better hitting against.

"Maybe it's mental, maybe it's physical. But when you play against a team that you've hit well against, you play more confidently."

Whoever is right, Yost or Baldelli, there's one thing that Baldelli is sure about.

"I'm definitely going to enjoy the fact that he puts good swings on the ball against their pitching staff."

--Field Level Media

Updated June 23, 2019

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