La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins try to avoid getting swept by Royals

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 1, 2013 - 11:28 AM

 It might be up to the M&M boys to keep the Twins from being swept by the Royals.

They have lost 7-2 and 4-3 in two games against Kansas City, winners of eight straight games. The Twins are 5-for-22 with runners in scoring position. Their streak of winning series has ended at four.

And here comes James Shields, the Royals' marquee move during the offseason - whose 3.09 ERA is 10th best in the American League. His 21 wins in August are the most of any month. He has one of the game's best changeups. He's 5-2 with a 4.09 ERA against the Twins.

Yet two Twins have had success against Shields - Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Mauer is a career .355 hitter against Shields with a double and a triple. He hitting .563 against righthander pitching in his last 11 game.

Morneau is a career .344 hitter with two home runs off of Shields

And, hey, Clete Thomas homered off of Shields the last time he faced him.

These guys need to click for the Twins to avoid the sweep and get a win before the Houston Astros

Brian Dozier returns to the lineup after missing two games with a sore knee and back.

New Royal Justin Maxwell, acquired in a trade on Wednesday, is in the Kansas City lineup. Chris Getz was placed on the DL (sprained knee) to make room for him.

Twins lefthander Scott Diamond hasn't won in six starts since June 20, but held Seattle to one run over 62/3 innings in his last outing. That also was Drew Butera's last start as a Twin.

Royals (53-51)

1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Eric Hosmer, 1B
3. Billy Butler, DH
4. Salvador Perez, C
5. Lorenzo Cain, CF
6. Miguel Tejada, 2B
7. Mike Moustakas, 3B
8. Justin Maxwell, RF
9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: James Shields, RHP

Twins (45-59)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Doug Bernier, SS
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Herrmann, RF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Clete Thomas, LF

Pitching: Scott Diamond, LHP 

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