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CWS@KC: Shields holds Sox to three runs, fans eight

Having completed a span of 27 games in 27 days, the Twins hope Monday's off-day will be of assistance before taking on the Royals for a three-game set.

Kansas City, meanwhile, is still grinding through a tough stretch as it strives to push toward a spot in the postseason. The Royals are more than halfway through a run of 44 games in 44 days, but their next off-day is still a while away, on Sept. 12.

That march toward the season's home stretch continues Tuesday, when right-hander James Shields takes the mound to face Kevin Correia and the Twins at Target Field.

"Both clubs are in the exact same position," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The trainers and the conditioning staff do a great job of making sure everyone is hydrated. You just go play the game. It's not easy, it's hard. It's smokin' hot out there, we haven't had a break in a long, long time, but then again these guys are kind of geared to that. They're geared to playing like that."

The Twins' demanding stretch, which began on July 30, has resulted in inconsistent play, as they finished Sunday with a loss to go 12-15 during that time.

"We've played some better baseball, but still our record has been inconsistent," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It seems like we'd run off [stretches] where [we played] four or five really good ballgames. [We] might lose one or two of them. Then all of a sudden we'd go flat, it looks like.

"And I don't know if that's because we're in such a grind. Right now, when you're playing this many games in a row and it's August, guys are a little worn out. But every team is in the same boat. Every team is going through the same thing and battling."

At 57-72, the Twins occupy fourth place in the American League Central, which means they'll look to play spoilers to the Royals, who still have hopes of stealing an AL Wild Card spot. Kansas City trails the A's by 6 1/2 games for the second Wild Card, with the Yankees, Orioles and Indians also ahead of the Royals.

Correia will take the mound for Minnesota. He held the Tigers scoreless for 6 2/3 innings in his last start before things fell apart. He ended up yielding four runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks in a loss.

Things won't get any easier against Shields, who has won four of his last six starts. He took a no-decision on Thursday when the White Sox won in extras. Shields gave up three runs over seven frames on nine hits and no walks. Since losing to the Twins on Aug. 6, he has a 2.14 ERA in three starts.

Twins: Mauer getting plenty of rest back home
Catcher Joe Mauer has been instructed to take it easy for a few days. Mauer, who went on the seven-day disabled list on Tuesday with concussion-like symptoms, is at his home in Minnesota, and the Twins expect to see him when they return to Target Field during the upcoming week.

"He's had his moments where he hasn't felt great, and other times where he's felt fine," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "Basically, we just told him to rest, and we'll talk about it and see how he's doing on Tuesday."

The Twins do not expect Mauer to return to their lineup during the brief homestand. After the Royals series, the club will be back on the road for meetings with the Rangers and Astros.

Through 113 games, Mauer has 11 home runs and 47 RBIs, with a slash line of .324/.404/.476.

Royals: Hochevar's wife gives birth
Luke Hochevar and his wife, Ashley, welcomed a healthy baby girl named Lucy Jane on Sunday afternoon. Hochevar was placed on paternity leave Sunday morning in anticipation of the Hochevars' second daughter, and he will take all three allotted days of paternity leave before rejoining the Royals on Wednesday in Minnesota.

In the meantime, left-hander Will Smith was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to add another arm to Kansas City's bullpen.

• Alex Gordon's numbers may not show it, but Yost said he thinks his All-Star left fielder is improving on defense. On Saturday, Gordon took the AL lead with his 11th outfield assist.

Gordon's numbers are down a little bit since he led the league with 20 assists in 2011 and followed that up with 17 last season. But Yost said that's because opponents simply have more respect for his arm, and the manager has no doubt that Gordon can earn a third straight AL Gold Glove Award.

"Absolutely, I think he will win it," Yost said. "I think he'll win a bunch of them."

Worth noting
• The Royals are 12-4 against the Twins this season, and 5-2 at Target Field, having won the season series against Minnesota for the first time since 2003. Those 12 wins are already the most by a Kansas City club against the Twins, edging 11-win seasons in 1975 and 2003.

• Shields has won 24 games in August, his most in any month. Dating back to August 2010, Shields is 14-5 in August, leading all Major League pitchers in wins.

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