Right-hander Kyle Gibson, the Twins' first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, will make his Major League debut on Saturday against the Royals at Target Field.
Gibson, who played his college ball with Royals reliever Aaron Crow at the University of Missouri, will oppose right-hander Wade Davis, who is making his 16th start of the season. After the Twins 3-1 victory in Thursday's opener, the Royals stormed back with a 9-3 victory on Friday night to even up the series. Kansas City owns a 6-2 advantage in the season series.
Gibson will have his work cut out for him against the Royals, who hit a season-high four homers on Friday to account for eight of their nine runs.
Gibson began the season with Triple-A Rochester, where he went 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA and two shutouts. He issued 28 walks and recorded 79 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .229 batting average.
Gibson has been with the Twins since Monday, giving him a chance to get to know them and the venue as he gets acclimated to the Major Leagues.
"I think I've been able to watch a couple games from the dugout, which I've never done before, obviously," Gibson said. "To get to see Sammy [Deduno] and P.J. [Walters] throw against the team that I'm going to face is definitely going to help. I learned a lot from P.J. down in Rochester when he was down there and we were pitching back-to-back days. Being similar pitchers with similar stuff, being able to watch how he attacked hitters is definitely going to help."
At this point, Davis may be more familiar with the Twins than is Gibson. On April 10, Davis defeated the Twins for his first win with the Royals following the offseason trade from the Rays. He is 3-0 with a 3.57 ERA in eight appearances and seven starts against Minnesota. Davis' teams have gone 7-1 in those games and he hasn't given up an earned run in 10 innings against the Twins this season.
Davis is working off an extra day of rest as he was originally scheduled to start on Friday, but manager Ned Yost flipped Davis and James Shields to ensure that Shields gets four more starts in before the All-Star break instead of three.
Davis, who has a 2.19 ERA in his four previous June outings, is coming off yet another strong start where he scattered eight hits and two walks while allowing two runs over seven innings last Saturday against the White Sox.
"Davis threw the ball great," Yost said. "Seven strong innings, kept us in the game, did a great job."
Royals: Royals loving the long ball
The Royals entered Friday night's game with the fewest home runs in the Major Leagues (43), but made strides with four homers in the win at Target Field.
Billy Butler hit a three-run homer in the first inning to break a streak of 136 at-bats -- the second-longest span of his career -- without a home run. Butler also tied Bo Jackson for 10th on the Royals' all-time homer list with 109.
Mike Moustakas broke a streak of 124 at-bats with a two-run shot in the third inning, while Eric Hosmer hit a pair of home runs. After one homer in the first 61 games, Hosmer has hit five in his last 14 games. He also became the first Royals player with multiple home runs in a game this season. It was the second multihomer game of his career.
Twins: Hicks continues rehab assignment
Center fielder Aaron Hicks went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in his latest rehab start for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings on Friday.
Hicks played all nine innings for the first time as he recovers from a strained left hamstring. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 10 and has played four games so far with the Red Wings, where he is batting .231 with three hits, one run and two RBIs.
"We want Hicks to be healthy and swinging good when he comes back up here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're trying to get him plenty of time to get at-bats. He needs at-bats."
• Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 1-for-4 on Friday and is 8-for-20 (.400) in his last five games with a homer and three RBIs. This after going 2-for-24 from June 16-22.
• Twins catcher Joe Mauer is 0-for-8 in the first two games of this series after snapping an eight-game hitting streak.
• Clete Thomas' fifth-inning homer on Friday was just his second of the season -- the last on June 20 against the White Sox -- and 10th of his career.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.