RHP Scott Baker (1-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (3-1, 3.86)
Baker and Duensing have been two recent bright spots. Baker is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his past two starts, with 15 strikeouts and two walks in 14 innings. Duensing has been terrific since giving up a three-run homer to Mark Teixeira in the first inning of his first start. Since then, he has a 2.00 ERA over 27 innings. He is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past two starts, going seven innings in each. Pavano had a recent bout with the flu, leading the Twins to move his start from Saturday to Sunday. The Twins split a two-game series with the Royals in mid-April at Target Field.
After a 10-4 start, the Royals had dropped eight of 12 games entering Thursday, falling to .500. Their pitching staff's 4.57 ERA was worst in the American League. Jeff Francoeur was riding a 16-game hitting streak. Alex Gordon had his career-best 19-game hitting streak stopped Wednesday. The Royals are coming off a tough road trip to Texas and Cleveland, but now they return home, where they are 9-5. Chen had won seven consecutive decisions, dating to Aug. 23, before losing to the Rangers in his last start. He is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 13 games against the Twins.