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MLB Royals hope to salvage series finale vs. Twins

Right-hander Tyler Mahle will try to continue his winning streak on Wednesday afternoon when the Minnesota Twins attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in Minneapolis.

It will be Mahle’s third start for the Twins since coming over from the Cincinnati Reds on the Aug. 2 trade deadline for a trio of prospects. Minnesota won both of his previous starts, including a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday in Anaheim, Calif., when Mahle allowed three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. He struck out six.

Mahle (6-7, 4.26 ERA) has a 3.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings with Minnesota. He got a no-decision in his Twins debut at Target Field against the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 5, a contest Minnesota rallied to win 6-5 in 10 innings.

In his past four starts overall, Mahle is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA. He is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against Kansas City.

The Royals have gone 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series while being outscored 13-2, including a 9-0 loss on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Daniel Lynch (4-7, 4.52), who is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota, is slated to start on Wednesday for Kansas City. Lynch allowed two hits and walked four while hurling five shutout innings in his last start on Friday, a no-decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lynch will try to slow a Twins lineup that has amassed 27 hits, including 23 singles, in the first two games of the series. Minnesota out-hit the Royals 16-5 Tuesday in a game that featured the fourth four-hit game of Gio Urshula’s career and a three-hit effort by major league batting leader Luis Arraez (.336).

“I don’t know, but I like it, though,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said of his team’s unusually high singles total over the first two games. “Clearly have a plan, clearly going in there and using the whole field. Knowing what to look for, knowing what to focus your attention on in these at-bats. …

“I think we’ve just seen a lot of really good at-bats. It’s not coming down to just hitting three-run homers and stuff like that. … It’s the consistency of approach, and I think that’s what we saw.”

The Twins matched a season high with their 16 hits on Tuesday. Nine of the hits, including a solo homer by Gilberto Celestino, came off Royals starter Zack Greinke.

“Our guys battled him very tough,” Baldelli said. “Kept fighting. … We had to battle it out against him until we were able to break it open.”

Meanwhile, the Twins garnered another quality start from Sonny Gray, who yielded just a bloop single to Bobby Witt Jr. and a walk over the first six innings. He wound up throwing six-plus scoreless frames and matching his season high with 10 strikeouts. It marked the 14th time this season that Kansas City was shut out.

The Royals, who lost the series opener 4-2 on Monday, have failed to score in eight innings in the series when the leadoff man reached base.

“We keep talking about the kind of team that we are,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve got to figure out how to grind and fight and just take those gritty at-bats to where we put something in play to put pressure on the defense to where we can get something across the board.

“A couple guys took good at-bats; but, when we needed the big hit, we couldn’t get it.”

–Field Level Media

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