As the two teams tied for the AL's worst record begin a weekend series, one of them is probably feeling a bit better than the other.
The visiting Kansas City Royals look to win a third straight game for the first time in 2012 on Friday night while extending the Minnesota Twins' skid to six.
Both of these clubs are 5-14, but the Royals are hoping they've turned a corner. They won back-to-back games in Cleveland this week following a disheartening 12-game losing streak, which included an 0-10 start at home.
"We can't lose now," left fielder Alex Gordon joked after Thursday's 4-2 win over the Indians. "It's unbelievable."
Kansas City hit four homers in an 8-2 win Wednesday to end its lengthy slide, then used five singles to post a decisive three-run fifth inning Thursday.
Manager Ned Yost is taking that as evidence the Royals' luck has turned.
"That's why those streaks happen," Yost said. "You can't catch a break. You can't find a hole. They're making great plays. You're not getting a call from an umpire. It's always something. Don't ask me what it is. Whatever it is, when it turns you get on the right side of it for a while."
Minnesota remains on the wrong side after Boston's three-game sweep extended the Twins' home losing streak to six, although Chris Parmelee was fortunate to escape major injury when he was struck in the head by a pitch during Wednesday's 7-6 defeat. The team said the first baseman showed no signs of a concussion and is day to day.
"We're just lucky the kid's OK," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combined for four hits and three RBIs on Wednesday, but the Twins' rally from a six-run deficit fell just short as they left the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
"Kind of the story of the season so far, we're one big hit away from being in the right spot and being on the winning side in some of these ballgames," Morneau said. "I guess you can say the good thing is we had those opportunities, but we didn't take advantage of them."
Both teams will be looking to take advantage of a series against another struggling team as the AL Central rivals meet for the first time this year. The Royals are setting out to win a season series against the Twins for the first time since 2003, although they're just 5-13 at Target Field.
They finished the 2011 season there, losing 1-0 on the final day Sept. 28. Carl Pavano needed only 95 pitches to post a five-hitter in that game, improving to 8-3 with a 4.08 ERA in his last 12 starts against Kansas City.
Pavano (1-2, 4.73 ERA) was outpitched by Tampa Bay's James Shields his last time out, but he'll have a less imposing counterpart Friday.
Danny Duffy was originally slated to start this game for Kansas City, but the young left-hander was scratched due to tightness in his elbow.
Everett Teaford (0-1, 3.86) will make the spot start. In two relief appearances spanning seven innings this season, the left-hander has allowed three hits and three runs while walking five.
In three starts as a rookie last year, Teaford went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
The Associated Press News Service
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