The Kansas City Royals will look for a rare road series victory Sunday afternoon as they take on the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
Kansas City has won two of the first three contests of the four-game series. The team, however, has won just two of seven road series this season.
Royals right-hander Zack Greinke (0-3, 4.53 ERA) will vie for his first win of the season. He will be opposed by Twins right-hander Sonny Gray (2-1, 2.60).
Bobby Witt Jr. recorded his second straight three-hit performance in Kansas City’s 7-3 win on Saturday. He fell a double shy of the cycle in the Royals’ 10-7 victory on Friday before recording the Royals’ first three-double performance in four years on Saturday.
“That’s the goal of the game, hit the ball hard and let the rest happen,” said Witt, who has seen 22 of his 41 hits go for extra bases. He has a team-leading 13 doubles.
Greinke likely will be throwing to catch Salvador Perez, who returned to the lineup as the designated hitter Saturday. He went 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup after missing 10 games with a sprained left thumb.
Perez enters Sunday’s game with a career slash line of .317/.350/.572 in 76 games at Target Field. He has 19 home runs with 55 RBIs, the most in any park away from Kauffman Stadium.
“It’s always good to see his face around here and then to see his name in the lineup, no matter where we can put him,” manager Mike Matheny said before the game. “We’ll get him in there, at least the bat today, and knowing that he’s progressing well, defensively, also is just great news.
“It’s amazing how quick he heals up. The trainers are really happy with how he has progressed. Watching him hit (Friday), he’s in a good place.”
Greinke had a 2.67 ERA through six starts but only received 14 total runs of support in that stretch. In his last three starts, he has allowed 14 earned runs in 14 innings.
Greinke is just 5-10 with a 4.53 ERA in 26 career appearances (22 starts) versus Minnesota.
Gray has been gaining momentum recently, picking up wins in his last two starts. He has allowed two runs and struck out 15 with just one walk in 13 innings. In his last game, he fanned 10 and scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers.
“It just feels like the field is your playground,” Gray said. “You just go out there and play. I talked to (pitching coach Wes Johnson) before, and I was like, ‘It’s just like you play with your kids in the backyard.’ It’s the same thing. You just go out there and you just play and you just have fun and you just let it go.”
The Twins need Gray to have some fun on Sunday.
Gray is 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA in seven career starts versus the Royals.
–Field Level Media