KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Miguel Sano's streak of six consecutive strikeouts, and nine in his last 10 at-bats, has forced manager Paul Molitor to reach a conclusion about his lineup. "I wish I wouldn't have played him yesterday," the Twins manager deadpanned.

But unlike his habit with other rookies who go through a sudden slump, Molitor has chosen not to bench Sano for a game to allow him to regroup. The rookie is back in the cleanup spot tonight, and he'll face Yordano Ventura, who has struck out 11 hitters in each of his past two starts. It's a show of faith from the manager, and perhaps a challenge to the slugger to stop trying to hit home runs.

"Every once in awhile, you're reminded he's still learning. He's only been here a couple hundred at-bats. When a guy has a good day against him, he's going to get exposed a little bit," Molitor said. "I think generally just kind of got a little overexcited about doing too much [in Houston]. I hope he backs it down a little and remembers the walks are a good thing, [to] be patient and get good pitches, and hopefully we'll get him back on track."

And maybe there's a bright side to Sano's rash of strikeouts, Molitor joked. "He didn't have to run a lot the last few days."

Here are the lineups for tonight's opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals were swept by the White Sox over the weekend:


Hicks CF

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Sano DH

Plouffe 3B

Rosario LF

Hunter RF

Suzuki C

Escobar SS


Zobrist 2B

Cain CF

Hosmer 1B

Morales DH

Gomes RF

Moustakas 3B

Perez C

Orlando LF

Escobar SS

Ventura RHP