American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, June 13th
(All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (30-33) at Tampa Bay Rays (35-30), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Ervin Santana (4-5, 2.99)
Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 5.18)
(Sports Network) - Dominican right-hander Ervin Santana will try to make it
three starts without a loss on Thursday night when the Kansas City Royals open
a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
The 30-year-old, who joined the Royals in the offseason, opened the year with
three wins in four decisions before losing four consecutive starts between May
12 and May 28.
He opened June with a no-decision after allowing an unearned run in seven
innings against Texas, then defeated Houston, 7-2, with seven innings of two-
run ball on June 8.
Santana is 5-6 with a 5.47 earned run average in 13 career meetings with the
Rays, and has won once in five road starts this season.
The Royals are 4-6 in his last 10 starts and have won five of his 12 outings
Tampa Bay starts 26-year-old righty Jeremy Hellickson, who's trying for a
ninth straight start without a loss.
The former American League rookie of the year last lost on April 25 when he
dropped a 5-2 verdict to the Chicago White Sox.
He's 3-0 in eight starts since, including six innings of scoreless four-hit
ball on June 8, when he beat the Baltimore Orioles, 8-0.
Hellickson faced Kansas City on May 1 and allowed four runs in five innings of
a 9-8 Royals win. He's 1-0 against them in four career meetings with a 2.66
earned run average.
On Wednesday in Kansas City, Eric Hosmer delivered the game-winning RBI single
in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap an improbable 3-2 comeback victory by
the Royals over the Detroit Tigers in the rubber match of a three-game set at
Facing Detroit reliever Phil Coke (0-4), Miguel Tejada led off the bottom of
the 10th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alcides
Escobar. After Alex Gordon moved Tejada to third with a groundout to first,
Hosmer took the left-hander's pitch up the middle for the difference-maker.
Kansas City, which had a season-high six-game winning streak come to end with
a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Tuesday, looked to be in line for a second straight
defeat after Tigers starter Justin Verlander tossed seven stellar frames of
Lorenzo Cain erased the deficit with two outs and a runner on second in the
inning, belting a two-run homer off Jose Valverde to send the game to extras.
Greg Holland (2-1) retired the side in order in the top of the 10th to secure
the victory. Kansas City starter James Shields, who failed to earn a win in
his eighth consecutive start, allowed both Detroit runs on seven hits over
Brayan Pena and Prince Fielder drove in the only Detroit runs.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, weren't as fortunate on Wednesday, as Alfredo Aceves
turned in six strong innings in an emergency start to help the Boston Red Sox
record a 2-1 decision over the Rays in the rubber match of a three-game
Tampa Bay managed just six hits on the night, with Evan Longoria's solo homer
in the sixth inning providing the lone scoring in the Rays' seventh loss in
nine meetings with their AL East rivals this season.
Chris Archer (1-2) struck out seven batters in four innings of work, but threw
103 pitches over that period and walked four in addition to serving up Nava's
"I think I was trying to do a little too much," Archer said."I was falling
behind 2-0 and they forced me to throw strikes and work the count."
The Royals won a pair from the Rays in the teams' only previous series in
2013, taking 8-2 and 9-8 decisions on April 30 and May 1 in Kansas City.
06/13 10:21:26 ET