The Kansas City Royals have been dominated by Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana over the last three seasons, but they may be catching him at the right time.
The Royals try to get past Santana and extend their longest home winning streak of the season as they continue a three-game series with the Twins on Wednesday.
Kansas City (49-62) has won five in a row at Kauffman Stadium, outscoring opponents 34-7, batting .358 and posting a 1.40 ERA. Mark Teahen went 4-for-4 with two doubles on Tuesday to lead the Royals to a 5-1 win in the opener of their seven-game homestand, which was delayed 36 minutes in the eighth inning due to a power outage.
The Royals' right fielder, who tied his career high in hits, is 9-for-13 in his past three games.
"Day-to-day you're always messing with something," Teahen said of his swing. "Hopefully, I can ride this one for a while."
Teahen is batting .353 (12-for-34) versus the Twins (57-55) this season, but is just 2-for-10 with a double during his career versus Santana (11-9, 2.98 ERA). The Twins' left-hander is 8-0 with a 2.23 ERA in his last 11 starts against Kansas City, with the Twins winning all of those games.
He hasn't lost to the Royals since May 29, 2004, and will be facing them for the first time in 2007. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is 11-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 28 career games, including 17 starts, against Kansas City.
Santana won five straight starts from June 19-July 13 while posting a 1.03 ERA and a .177 opponent batting average, but is 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last four outings.
The left-hander hasn't lost four in a row since May 18-June 3, 2004.
He allowed five runs - three earned - and six hits over six-plus innings in a 5-2 defeat to Cleveland on Friday. Santana walked two, struck out eight and allowed his 24th homer of the season, tying a career high.
"I don't worry too much about Johan Santana," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's going to go out and give you a chance to win."
Santana has pitched well on the road, going 7-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 12 starts while holding opponents to a .194 batting average. The Twins have dropped seven of their last nine away from home, however, getting outscored 53-21.
Minnesota has been held to three or fewer runs in six straight overall games, losing four of them. First baseman Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, had two doubles Tuesday to snap a four-game hitless streak. He fouled a ball off his right shin in his last at-bat and didn't return after the delay as a precaution.
"It was swelling up then we had the delay," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. He's a pretty tough guy."
Catcher Joe Mauer was hitless in the opener, but is 5-for-8 with two doubles lifetime versus Odalis Perez (6-10, 5.79), who will take the mound for Kansas City on Wednesday. The left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits, including a homer, over five innings in a 7-1 defeat to the New York Yankees on Friday. He walked three and didn't record a strikeout.
Perez is 2-1 with a 6.84 ERA in five career starts versus the Twins, with both of those victories coming this season.