KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Danny Valencia drove in three runs, Carl Pavano won his eighth straight decision and the Minnesota Twins battered Kansas City 11-2 Tuesday night, completing the worst three-game pitching span in Royals history.
In their last three games, the shell-shocked Royals have been beaten 12-6 by the Yankees and 19-1 and 11-2 by the Twins, snapping the team record of 40 runs allowed in three consecutive games. The 53 hits they've given up in the three routs is also the team record for three games in a row.
Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and J.J. Hardy all had two RBIs apiece for the Twins, who totaled 19 hits one night after getting 20.
The Twins have won six of seven and over their past four games against Baltimore and Kansas City pitching have rung up 47 runs on 72 hits.
Valencia, the rookie third baseman who was 4 for 4 with a grand slam in Monday night's 19-1 trouncing, had two singles and a double in his first three trips to the plate against Bruce Chen (5-5) but took a called third strike from Robinson Tejeda in the seventh. Until then, he had nine hits in 10 at-bats going back to Sunday in Baltimore. Then, facing Victor Marte in the eighth, he had an RBI single, making him 4 for 5 with three singles and a double.
Mauer, who was 5 for 5 with seven RBIs Monday night, doubled and scored in his first at-bat on Tuesday and was 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Pavano (13-6) was not as sharp as he'd been while throwing a shutout against Baltimore in his previous start. But he gave up only one run on five hits in five innings, walking three and striking out two and winning for the fifth time on the road. Jose Guillen's sacrifice fly in the fifth was the first run Pavano had allowed in 18 straight innings.
Chen was charged with six runs on 11 hits as the Royals lost for the 12th time in 15 games and dropped into a last-place tie with Cleveland in the AL Central.
The Twins picked up right where they'd left off in Monday night's 19-1 rout, taking a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Cuddyer and Valencia in the first.
Cuddyer, Mauer, Delmon Young, Valencia, J.J. Hardy and Drew Butera all had a multihit game for the Twins.
In the third, Young doubled and went to third on Cuddyer's single and Valencia and Hardy followed with RBI singles.
Joe Repko had an RBI single in the sixth and Mauer made it 6-1 with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Mauer, Young, Cuddyer and Valencia all had RBIs in the eighth. J.J. Hardy had a solo homer in the seventh.
After throwing two pitches to Cuddyer in the seventh inning, Royals reliever Kyle Farnsworth left the game with what the club said was an apparent right hamstring cramp.
Scott Podsednik's RBI single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching his career-high.
Surgery for Meche —Royals pitcher Gil Meche believes he made every effort to avoid shoulder surgery—and it just didn't work. So season-ending surgery now looms as a likely next step.
"I've done everything possible I could do to be on that mound," he said. "I know that, (the Royals) know that. It's not like I'm sitting here not wanting to pitch."
All that work failed to resolve the problem.
Meche showed diminished velocity Monday in a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Omaha against New Orleans. More troubling, his shoulder problems sharpened despite avoiding the strain of throwing his curveball, one of his best pitches.
"The next step," manager Ned Yost confirmed, "is he'll probably have to have to surgery on (the shoulder) to figure out exactly what's wrong and repair it. We're still evaluating, but it looks like that's what we're going to have to do."
It marks the second major injury to hit the Royals within a week. Outfielder David DeJesus underwent season-ending surgery Monday in Cleveland to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Meche, 31, made two minor-league starts in an effort to recover from a shoulder injury that forced him to the disabled list after a May 25 start against Texas. His four scoreless innings last Wednesday for Double-A Northwest Arkansas left everyone encouraged.
"The first game, it went pretty good" Meche said. "I was throwing hard, velocity was great. And I just didn't quite bounce back like I thought I would in my second start. Velocity wasn't as good.
"I still didn't throw my curveball, still not locating. So it's one of those things where (you wonder) if you keep pushing in this direction or do something else."
Meche gave up seven runs and eight hits in four innings Monday in Omaha's 9-6 loss to New Orleans. Immediately afterward, he returned to Kansas City to undergo an examination.
"It's a big disappointment," he said, "but there's no use crying about it every day. I've thought a lot about it, and every day you've got to keep moving."
Meche's shoulder problems, previously identified as bursitis, surfaced late in spring training and forced him to open the season on the disabled list. He returned April 11 but went 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts before returning to the disabled list.
"He worked really hard to do everything he could to get back without having this happen," Yost said. "We'll get it taken care of now, get it done as soon as we can, and hopefully have him ready to go (by the start of) next year."
Surgery would cap a second straight injury-filled year for Meche, who made just 23 starts last season because of back and shoulder problems. He finished 6-10 with a 5.09 ERA.
Meche is in the fourth season of a five-year, $55 million deal signed Dec. 8, 2006, after spending the previous 11 seasons in the Seattle organization. He went 23-24 with a 3.82 ERA in 2007-08 with the Royals while making 68 straight scheduled starts.
"When I signed this contract here," he said, "it was to pitch. The first 2 1/2 years, I did that. But since then, it's been crazy and disappointing."