(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals head into July with their best record in 11 years. They'll try to win their third in a row on Tuesday when they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Kansas City improved to 43-39 on Monday, as Alcides Escobar doubled twice and matched a season-high with four RBI to help the Royals to a 6-1 win.
Salvador Perez hit a solo home run and Omar Infante drove in the other run for Kansas City, which finished June with a 9-2 mark away from home and has its best record heading into July since it was 42-38 back in 2003.
Danny Duffy (4-7) capped off his impressive June with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the Royals. The young lefty allowed just seven runs in 37 1/3 innings during the month.
"Everything was working early on," said Duffy. "When I made mistakes the defense made great plays."
Eduardo Nunez drove in the lone run for Minnesota, while Joe Mauer and Chris Parmelee each extended their hitting streaks in the setback. Mauer singled in the eighth inning to push his season-high hit streak to 11 games, while Parmelee finished 2-for-4 with a run, extending his streak to 10.
Yohan Pino (0-2) was roughed up for four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.
"(Pino) battled. He hung in there pretty good," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "He made better pitches as it went along."
Now the Royals turn to righty James Shields, who is 8-3 with a 3.79 ERA and hasn't lost since May 2. Shields, though, hasn't been particularly effective of late and has not received a decision his last two times out, despite giving up nine runs in 14 innings of work.
In fact, the Royals have scored 7.03 runs for Shields over his 10-game unbeaten streak with him going 5-0 with a 4.27 ERA.
Shields has faced the Twins 16 times and is 7-4 against them with a 4.06 ERA.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will turn to righty Ricky Nolasco, who is 4-6 with a 5.74 ERA. Nolasco was awful in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, as he was ripped for six runs and 11 hits in six innings.
Among qualifying pitchers Nolasco ranks last in terms of ERA and opponent average (.322).
"It all gets back to him locating his fastball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When we see his fastball and he uses that a little bit more, everything seems to work out a little bit better. When we see him get in trouble is when he is not locating his fastball. The breaking balls, he can spin [those] as well as anybody, but it is all about that fastball.''
Nolasco is 1-1 in two starts versus the Royals with a 3.95 ERA.
Despite Monday's loss Minnesota has won four of seven head-to-head meetings with the Royals this season.