MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - INSIDE PITCH

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This is anything by an easy road trip for the Minnesota Twins.

It began with three games, two of them losses at Kansas City, the American League Central Division leaders.

It continues Friday with a four-game series at Baltimore and the Orioles stand atop the American League East Division.

"We've been brought right into a pennant race with these other teams and we're getting to see what it's like with their fans," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The guys are getting a taste for it and that's good for them."

Right-handed starters Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes gave the Twins stellar starts in the first two games at Kansas City, but the offense scored only one run in each game.

"We're in the middle of a mess here with all these teams getting after it," Gardenhire said. "We were swinging it pretty well and now we aren't. We have to take some pressure off our starters. They've given us some really good starts."

"The first two games could have gone either way. A big hit here or there and it could have gone our way. I think maybe some of the guys are worn down a little. The series with Detroit wore them down a little."

The offense banged out 11 runs, including six in the 10th inning, Thursday night to beat the Royals 11-5.


MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 59-74

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Twins (RHP Trevor May, 0-3, 8.79 ERA) at Orioles (RHP Miguel Gonzalez, 6-7, 3.75 ERA)


--1B Joe Mauer was not in the lineup for the first time since coming off the disabled list with a right oblique strain. "We know this thing (oblique) is not going to leave him until he totally quits swinging a baseball bat this winter," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That has nothing to do with it. I just told him, 'You're out today.' He just looked at me and he didn't fight me, so that was good." Mauer struck out twice Wednesday and was 1-for-8 in the first two games of the series. "You've got to do it for him," Gardenhire said of resting Mauer. "He's in the training room, getting treatment every day like everybody else. Because he missed so much time, you sit there and say, 'Boy, we need him in there.' But he's going to have to have a break. He's not as young as some of those other guys out there. He's got two kids." Mauer did draw a walk as a pinch hitter in the 10th and remained in the game to play first base.

--LF Jordan Schafer drove in four runs, matching his career high. He also stroked three hits extending his hitting streak to eight games, which matches his career best. "That's what we're trying to find out about him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're letting him play. He's got a lot of speed. He did a good job scoring on the ball in the gap (Brian Dozier's single in the fourth). We're trying to figure out what he can do and how he can help the ball club."

--C Kurt Suzuki batted third for only the third time this season and went 3-for-5 with two doubles. Suzuki has started 44 games hitting seventh and 28 batting sixth.

--INF-OF Chris Parmelee made his 16th start at first base with Joe Mauer out of the lineup. Parmalee has started 38 games in the outfield, 28 of those in right.