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KC@CWS: Shields strikes out seven over seven innings

The Twins are more than happy to put their recent 3-7 homestand behind them as they begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday night with three games against the Royals.

"It's frustrating for me and my coaching staff," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some pretty big hopes for this homestand to do some good. But in this game, every day you have a new chance. You never know. You might win eight in a row. That's our hope."

Now, after an off-day for both teams, Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson will make his first start in 10 days after struggling with lower back stiffness.

He'll be opposed by James Shields who, by beating the Twins, can become the seventh active pitcher with eight or more seasons of double-digit victories.

Mark Buehrle heads the list with 14 seasons of 10 or more wins, followed by CC Sabathia (13), A.J. Burnett (9), Dan Haren (9), Jered Weaver (9) and Justin Verlander (8).

Shields missed out on his 10th victory in his last start at Chicago, but he held the White Sox to one run in seven innings, and the Royals won, 2-1.

"I don't really care about wins, as long as the team wins," Shields said. "My main focus is to go to the playoffs. So no matter what happens, I'm going to go out there and keep my team in the game, and give us a chance to win every night."

To Royals manager Ned Yost, Shields is one of those pitchers who can smell victory in the works.

"It's been my experience with Shields, you get him a lead after the second or third and he really locks in," Yost said.

Twins: Mauer continues in recovery
First baseman Joe Mauer will hit in the cage on Monday in preparation for on-field batting practice Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.

Mauer has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique since July 2. He's expected to begin a rehab assignment as early as the weekend.

"By the time we get back from this road trip, he'll be on a rehab assignment," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's the hope. If everything goes good, and he's feeling good, we'll get him on a rehab by the time we get back. And by the next week, he'll be ready to play for us."

Royals: Hosmer a likely starter
First baseman Eric Hosmer has started just one of the last seven games because of a bruised right hand. And even in that one start, he left the game early.

Hosmer might have been able to start on Sunday against the Indians but, with an open date on Monday, Yost decided to give him extra healing time.

"It makes the most sense. He's feeling better," Yost said. "He feels it just a little bit but, with the off-day, we'll get through this and have him in there on Tuesday, and he'll be more than ready to go."

Hosmer has made late-inning appearances for defensive reasons during his recovery. He can play in the field but gripping the bat has been a problem.

Hosmer was hit by a pitch from the Red Sox's Jon Lester on July 20. He had a 16-game hitting streak at the time, since ended.

Worth noting
• The Royals, who led the Majors with 153 stolen bases in 2013, are back on top in the American League with 84. They've had 18 steals in the last 19 games.

• Gibson threw a bullpen session on Sunday in preparation for his Tuesday start. "He's fine," Gardenhire said.

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