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CWS@KC: Shields fans six, goes seven strong innings

Look at James Shields since he's been with Kansas City and you'd think he hasn't fit in very well at Kauffman Stadium. Like he's more at home at, say, Target Field where he'll pitch on Saturday or some other place on the road.

In a Royals uniform in 2013-14, Shields has an ERA that's two runs higher at home than on the road. In 17 starts at Kansas City, his ERA is 4.18; in 18 starts away, his ERA is 2.18.

This is a switch for him since his Tampa Bay days.

"My whole career, I was worse on the road than I was home. Then last year, it was the other way around. I was better on the road and worse at home," Shields said. "So there's no explanation, it was just kind of the way the season fell for me. As long as I'm consistent and get quality starts, I'm good to go."

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who struggled in his second start of the year, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks over just four innings, will oppose Shields. Nolasco will look to fare better in just his second career start at Target Field, and his first with the Twins.

Shields beat the Twins all three times he faced them last year at Target Field. And he's won his last nine road decisions, starting last June 28 at Minnesota.

Part of the fault for Shields' puffy home ERA is being shouldered by manager Ned Yost.

"A lot of that had to do when I had to leave him in to take like 10 runs in five innings last year. I had to have him suck up some innings for us and he took a beatin'," Yost said.

That was last Sept. 6, when visiting Detroit hammered Shields for 10 runs on 14 hits in 3 2/3 innings. (His 2013 ERA jumped from 3.03 to 3.43 that night.)

The Twins hit just .210 in their first three home games, all losses to the A's, before beating the Royals, 10-1, on Friday.

"We've been taking pretty good at-bats so far. Kansas City has a nice staff," interim manager Terry Steinbach said. "We're going to have to go out there and stay within ourselves. Trying to get good quality at-bats out there, move it around the park."

When it comes to solving Shields, he can look to Jason Kubel, who's 9-for-23 (.391) against him; Brian Dozier, 6-for-16 (.375) and Joe Mauer, 12-for-37 (.324).

Twins: Willingham heading to DL
The Twins announced they will place left fielder Josh Willingham on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday's game. A round of batting practice on Friday yielded familiar soreness in the left wrist that was hit by a pitch last Sunday.

"I talked to him the last couple days," assistant general manager Rob Antony said, "and he's just not feeling any better."

The club will call up right-hander Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester. He's expected to arrive in time for Saturday's game.

Royals: To catch a thief
When Alcides Escobar was caught leaning toward second base by the Rays' Jake Odorizzi on Wednesday, he was charged with caught stealing.

That ended Escobar's streak of consecutive steals for the Royals at 30. The streak started Sept. 9, 2012, at Chicago. Last year, he was 22-for-22, a one-season mark.

The club record for most consecutive stolen bases without being thrown out is 33 by Carlos Beltran from Sept. 28, 1999, through Aug. 10, 2001.

Worth noting
• Only three Royals managers have more victories than Yost, who reached 288 against 333 losses on Wednesday. Whitey Herzog's record is 410-304; Dick Howser, 404-365, and Tony Muser, 317-431.

• Obscure stat dept.: Alex Gordon's nine RBIs in the season's first eight games made him the 12th Royal to have that many. The most for the first eight games is 13 RBIs by Amos Otis (1982) and Bo Jackson ('87).

• Mauer snapped a nine-game drought with an RBI single in Friday's win. It was the most games Mauer had played to start the season without driving in a run. His previous high was eight games last season.

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