The Twins wouldn't mind seeing history repeat itself when Samuel Deduno takes the mound against the Royals on Thursday night.
Deduno enjoyed perhaps his best start of the season in Kansas City on June 4, pitching six scoreless innings with four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He held the Royals to just one run last year in his only other start Kansas City, giving him a 2-0 record and 0.73 ERA against Minnesota's American League Central rival.
Deduno will face Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie in Thursday's series opener at Target Field. Before giving up four runs to the Indians on Friday, Deduno's last four starts had been quality outings. He's pitched at least six innings in his last five starts, an encouraging sign for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
"He's been throwing pretty well for us, getting us deeper into second half of games and using all of his pitches. He's in control a lot better now than he was before," Gardenhire said. "His command, he's able to throw his fastball just about any time he wants now. He's going to have his moments where he's going to flying, which is good. It keeps the hitters off balance and keeps them guessing."
Deduno will be up against Guthrie, who's coming off an uncharacteristically poor outing on Friday against the White Sox. Guthrie pitched a season-low 2 1/3 innings -- his shortest start in nearly four years -- as he gave up six runs on five hits in the loss. He had pitched at least five innings in his previous 14 starts.
"He just didn't have it," Royals manager Ned Yost said on Friday. "It was just one of those nights when he just didn't have much going for him."
The good news for Guthrie is his strong track record against Minnesota, as he's gone 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 64 1/3 innings over 11 games, including nine starts.
The right-hander worked around three solo shots to win against the Twins on April 9 then held them to one run on six hits and three walks in a 4-1 victory on June 5. He also owns a perfect 3-0 record and a 2.31 ERA in four career road outings against Minnesota.
Royals: Hits with RISP go MIA
After Tuesday night's loss, the Royals were 3-6 over their past nine games with a paltry .182 (14-for-77) average with runners in scoring position during that stretch. Kansas City went 1-for-10 with RISP on Tuesday and 2-for-10 on Sunday.
Things got a little better on Wednesday, when the club went 3-for-7 in those situations. That includes Alex Gordon's walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning.
When the Royals won nine of 10 from June 5-14, they hit .356 (31-for-87) with runners in scoring position.
• The Royals will be represented by right-handers Yordano Ventura and Miguel Almonte in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game on July 14. Ventura also appeared in last year's game as the starting pitcher for the World Team. Almonte is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 games this season for Class A Lexington.
Twins: Buxton, Sano heading to Futures Game
Highly touted prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano will represent the Twins in the Futures Game in New York.
Buxton, who will play for the U.S. team, was recently promoted to Class A Advanced Fort Myers after hitting .341/.431/.559 with 55 RBIs in 68 games for Class A Cedar Rapids. Sano also moved up a level this season, jumping from Fort Myers to Double-A New Britain. The slugging third baseman put together a .330/.424/.655 batting line with 16 homers and 48 RBIs in 56 games for the Miracle.
• Lefty Caleb Thielbar has not allowed a run in 14 2/3 innings over 13 appearances this year, giving him the franchise record for most consecutive scoreless innings and most consecutive scoreless outings to start a Major League career.
"I've just got to go out there with the same mindset every time," he said. "You can't be pitching with that in your mind. Otherwise, that's when you maybe start getting a little timid out there. That's never a good thing. If I start doing that, I might walk a few guys and that [statistic] disappears pretty quickly."
• Guthrie is 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA against the AL Central since joining Kansas City. Friday's loss was his first in the division since last July 22 against the Twins.
• Joe Mauer passed Torii Hunter and moved into sole possession of seventh place on the Twins' all-time list in runs scored on Tuesday night. Mauer came home again on Wednesday afternoon, scoring his 674th run with Minnesota.