MLB

Twins-Royals Preview

Led by baseball's highest-scoring offense and most dominant bullpen, the Kansas City Royals are enjoying their best start in 12 years.

They'll go for already their third series sweep Wednesday night against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Kansas City (11-3) followed Monday's 7-1 win with a more dramatic 6-5 victory Tuesday, continuing its best start since opening 16-3 in 2003. Mike Moustakas was 3 for 5, hitting his third homer and driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. He's one of six players hitting .314 or better while appearing in at least 12 games for the Royals, who are averaging a major league-best 5.8 runs.

Tuesday marked Kansas City's eighth come-from-behind victory, a credit to its reliable stable of relievers. Jason Frasor, Chris Young and Wade Davis combined for 3 1-3 scoreless innings after Jason Vargas was tagged for five runs in 5 2-3.

Despite being without injured closer Greg Holland, the bullpen lowered its ERA to 0.64, the second-lowest by a team through 14 games going back to 1969 since Minnesota's 0.62 mark in 1972. The three runs allowed in five innings in Thursday's 8-5 loss to the Twins marks the only time an opponent has scored against Royals relievers.

Kansas City could soon also be without right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who is appealing a five-game suspension for throwing behind Oakland's Brett Lawrie on Sunday.

Starter Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 5.54 ERA) needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park after yielding three solo shots while allowing four runs over six-plus innings in Kansas City's 6-4 win against the Athletics on Friday.

He's 5-1 in his last seven starts against the Twins, though he's given up nine runs over 13 innings in the last two.

Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki each had two hits Tuesday and have enjoyed success against Guthrie. Mauer is 9 for 25 with three homers, while Suzuki is 8 for 21 with a home run and three doubles.

Minnesota (5-9) fell to 1-7 on the road behind a 5.95 ERA. Casey Fien was charged with the loss, giving up two runs in an inning of relief.

"A loss always hurts," he said. "When I don't my job that's what happens."

Scheduled starter Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 4.50) was solid in a five-inning effort during Minnesota's 3-2 win over Cleveland on Friday, though his command failed toward the end. Pelfrey allowed one run and three hits but issued four walks, all in the fourth and fifth innings.

The right-hander has been awful in three starts against the Royals, giving up 13 runs and 23 hits in 12 1-3 innings while going 0-2. His 9.49 ERA against them is his highest among opponents he's faced at least three times.

Omar Infante is 16 for 39 against Pelfrey, but he's missed two games with a strained left groin. Manager Ned Yost said he could have been used in an emergency situation Tuesday.

Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez are all hitting .429 or better off Pelfrey in at least six at-bats.

The Royals swept three three-game series all of last season.

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