KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It might be too late, but the Kansas City Royals are making a push to get back into postseason play.After a disastrous 7-19 July, the Royals were seven games below .500, at 51-58, after an Aug. 5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.But after winning 4-1 Wednesday night at Detroit to sweep the Tigers they evened their record at 60-60. The Royals have won four straight, seven of eight and nine of 11. They have won their past four series.Were playing like champions, said Royals rookie second baseman Raul Mondesi, who hit his first career home run on Tuesday.The defending World Series champion Royals return home Thursday to open a four-game series against the last-place Minnesota Twins. If the Royals are to keep their playoffs hopes alive, they may need to sweep the Twins. Anything less than winning three of the four could prove fatal to their postseason aspirations.The offense looks to me like its definitely coming back around, Royals manager Ned Yost said. Thats what we were waiting on. We felt good all the way around with our starting pitching for the most part and the bullpen guys have done a phenomenal job without (Luke) Hoch(evar) and Wade (Davis). Theyve really picked up the slack down there. We feel good where were at right now.The offense did nothing in the first seven innings Wednesday. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez did not allow a hit until Eric Hosmers two-out double in the seventh. Sanchez did not come out for the eighth and the Royals promptly went to work on the Detroit bullpen. Alex Gordon homered on the first pitch of the eighth, extending his hitting streak to a season-high eight games, while Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in a three-run ninth. That allowed the Royals to sweep a three-game series in Detroit for the first time since September 2008.While the Twins possess the worst record in the majors, the pitching matchup for the first game favors Minnesota, which will start Tyler Duffey. He beat the Royals 5-3 on Saturday, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Duffey also beat the Royals on May 25 at Target Field.Duffey is 8-8 with a 5.71 ERA with 25 walks and 90 strikes in 108 2/3 innings.I know Kansas City has been hard on us and they have a real good home record, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. Hopefully we can turn it around, starting with Duff on the mound (Thursday).Right-hander Dillon Gee, who was the losing pitcher Saturday at Minnesota, will be making his 10th start and 25th appearance. After holding the Twins to two runs in the first five innings, he gave up a single and back-to-back home runs in the sixth, pulled with the Royals trailing by four runs.Gee is 2-6 with a 6.35 ERA in nine starts. He has not won as a starter since May 31.The Twins swept a two-game series at Atlanta and improved to 9-7 in August. Brian Dozier went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI, hiking his RBI total to 72, while Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-5 with three RBI in the Twins 10-3 victory Wednesday over the Braves. Kyle Gibson pitched a complete game to pick up the victory.The Twins played without first baseman Joe Mauer and third baseman Miguel Sano in routing the Braves.Mauer sat out with sore quads, while Sano has a sore elbow.We want to give him a chance to rest and be ready for the Royals, Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Mauer. He doesnt want to sit, but sometimes that extra day helps him.Mauer is hitting .435 with a .516 on-base percentage and a .709 slugging percentage in August with two home runs, seven doubles and 11 RBI in 14 games.Sano made some throws from third base during infield practice and could be close to returning. 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TORONTO -- The Nashville Predators are a confident team after overcoming a slow start.They will take a 4-0-2 November record (6-5-3 overall) into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-6-3) on Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.Even when we werent scoring, we knew we had players that were capable of scoring goals, Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. It just wasnt happening. I go back to those two shootout losses, and there were 50 quality chances in two games, and were just not getting that third goal.If you could get that third goal, or fourth goal, theres a chance youre going to win the hockey game.The Predators have scored 20 goals in six November games, one more than they totaled in eight October games.They have won three games in a row, including a 5-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday led by two goals from James Neal, who has scored five times in his past four games.The Maple Leafs are coming off a weekend of contrasting results.They scored four unanswered goals in the third period in a 6-3, comeback win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the ACC on Friday. Then they went on the road and lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.The game on Friday impressed Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock.I think its the first time since Ive been here that we came back like that, Babcock said. It says we have talent and skill. It says we stayed calm. We executed and finished. I liked our team (Friday) night.It was a different game against the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen faced 49 shots. The Leafs have allowed 40 or more shots in four of their past six games.Three of the (Penguins goals), we ccould have done a better job, Babcock said.dddddddddddd. That part is disappointing. You cant play like that. I know we played (Friday) and I understand all that. But you rely on your structure and your ability to play defense and you wait for your chances.Babcock shuffled his lineup Saturday and likely will again Tuesday.Defenseman Frank Corrado played in his first game of the season against the Penguins after being a healthy scratch for the first 14 games. Defenseman Matt Hunwick returned from injured reserve Saturday, and fourth-line center Peter Holland played for the first time since Oct. 25.Defensemen Roman Polak and Connor Carrick and right winger Ben Smith were scratched. Center Zach Hyman did not skate with the team Monday but could play Tuesday.Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who earned his 41st career shutout Saturday, is 4-0-2 with seven goals allowed in his past six starts.Hes been so strong, Laviolette said. Hes seeing it really well right now; hes in position, and I think our guys are feeding off of that in front of him.Rinne said, I thought that I had a good end of the season last year and good playoffs, but its ups and downs. But my main goal is to be consistent and be able to maintain a level where I felt like Im playing my best game every night. This home stretch has been really good for me and my teammates, and hopefully we can keep it going. We havent been great on the road so far, but hopefully we can play well, too.The Predators are 1-4-2 on the road, and the Maple Leafs are 5-2-0 at home. 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