(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals look to keep pace in the American League Central Division standings on Tuesday night when they host the last- place Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City began the day in second place in the AL Central, five games back of division leader Detroit, which has lost three straight and eight of 12. The Royals, who are also in contention for the league's second wild card spot, brought a five-game winning streak into Sunday's series finale with the Cleveland Indians.
However, the Tribe rolled to a 10-3 victory in that one to put an end to the Royals' streak. Billy Butler went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for Kansas City, although Cleveland's Carlos Santana accounted for two of the Indians' four home runs on the day. Royals starter Bruce Chen took the loss as he gave up six runs on eight hits in five innings of work.
Meanwhile, Minnesota halted its three-game slide by defeating the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, 4-3. Sam Fuld came through with a two-run single as part of a three-run seventh that put the Twins ahead for good. Yohan Pino pitched six innings of two-run ball, and Glen Perkins notched his 25th save.
Minnesota and Kansas City were both idle on Monday. The Twins are now back on the road for six straight after a 3-7 homestand.
"It's frustrating for me and my coaching staff," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some pretty big hopes for this homestand to do some good. But in this game, every day you have a new chance. You never know. You might win eight in a row. That's our hope."
Gardenhire will turn to Kyle Gibson to start Tuesday's series opener. The right-hander has been battling lower back stiffness but got through Saturday's bullpen session without any issues. In his last start, Gibson went 6 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay and yielded six earned runs on nine hits.
For Kansas City, veteran James Shields will try to become the seventh active pitcher with eight or more seasons of double-digit victories. He was unable to notch win No. 10 against the Chicago White Sox in his last start, despite allowing only one run on four hits in seven innings. The Royals ultimately won that game by a 2-1 margin.
"I don't really care about wins, as long as the team wins," Shields said. "My main focus is to go to the playoffs. So no matter what happens, I'm going to go out there and keep my team in the game, and give us a chance to win every night."
Shields has logged just one victory over his last seven starts, although five times in that span he exited with either a lead or the game tied.
Minnesota owns a slight 5-4 edge over Kansas City in the season series.
However, the Twins have lost 10 of their last 13 at Kauffman Stadium.