(Sports Network) - Rookie southpaw Will Smith takes the major-league mound for the third time tonight when the Kansas City Royals host the Minnesota Twins to begin a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals won just their second home series of the season on Sunday against Oakland as Vin Mazzaro pitched six scoreless innings and Eric Hosmer homered in a 2-0 triumph.
Mazzaro (2-0) scattered four hits and walked three while striking out three in Kansas City's sixth win in eight games.
The Royals are 7-18 at Kauffman Stadium - the worst home mark in the majors.
Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland each tossed a scoreless inning of relief before Jonathan Broxton shut the door in the ninth to earn his 13th save of the year.
"(Mazzaro) went out there and kept throwing up zeroes," Broxton said. "That's all you can ask from our starters is keep us close and in the game and then turn it over to our bullpen."
Smith, a seventh-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2008, came to the Kansas City system in 2010 as part of a three-player deal that sent Alberto Callaspo to Anaheim.
He made 27 starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2011 and started nine times at Triple-A Omaha this spring before debuting with the Royals at Yankee Stadium in an 8-3 loss to New York on May 23.
The 22-year-old followed up with his first win six days later, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of an 8-2 win at Cleveland, walking two batters and striking out five.
This is his first appearance in Kansas City.
The Twins counter with their own rookie, right-hander Cole De Vries, who'll also make his third big-league start.
A 27-year-old Minnesota native and product of the University of Minnesota, De Vries broke into the Twins' chain in 2007 and began 2012 with eight starts at Triple-A Rochester.
He was called up and started a May 24 game against the Chicago White Sox, taking an 11-8 loss after allowing six runs and six hits in five innings.
One start since yielded a no-decision against Oakland on May 29, in which he tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and struck out one batter while walking five.
Opponents are hitting just .222 against him in 10 innings.
On Sunday in Cleveland, Scott Diamond did not allow an earned run and the Twins' lineup came to life in the team's 6-3 win over the Indians in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Diamond (4-1), making his sixth career start, went seven innings and allowed three runs - all unearned - in the win. He gave up seven hits and no walks as he lowered his earned run average to 1.86.
"We were mixing it up," Diamond said. "I think me and (catcher Ryan) Doumit did a really good job of working in and out today and we kept a lot of hitters off-balanced and moving their feet a lot."
"We couldn't get anything offensively going against Diamond," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He kept our guys off-balance the whole day with that cutter that he was throwing inside to right-handers and changeups and that fastball against our righties."
The bottom three hitters in the Twins lineup were productive. Brian Dozier picked up two hits, while Trevor Plouffe added three in the win. Alexi Casilla, who hit ninth, did not pick up a hit, but he did plate two runs with a pair of sacrifice flies.
These two clubs split a weather-shortened two-game series in Minnesota from April 27-29.
The Sports Network