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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, June 9 (All times Eastern)

New York Yankees (31-31) at Kansas City Royals (31-32), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.33) Kansas City - Jason Vargas (5-2, 3.28)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Vargas eyes another strong start on Monday when the Kansas City Royals go after a series win over the New York Yankees in the conclusion of the four-game affair at Kauffman Stadium.

Vargas was terrific against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, as he held them to a pair of runs over eight innings. He did not get a decision, though, in his team's 5-2 loss.

The left-hander has allowed just four runs over his last three starts, spanning 20 1/3 innings. He only has one win in that time and is 5-2 on the year with a 3.28 ERA.

Vargas' run of good luck could come to end in the finale, as he is 0-4 in eight games (7 starts) against the Yankees with a 6.75 ERA.

New York, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Vidal Nuno, who is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA. Nuno couldn't get out of the fifth inning on Wednesday against Oakland, as he allowed two runs and six hits with five walks in 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision.

"I had a lot of long ABs that drove my pitch count up," Nuno said. "My ball was kind of everywhere."

After dropping the first game of this series, the Royals have responded with back-to-back wins. On Sunday, James Shields headed up an impressive Kansas City pitching performance with six effective innings as the Royals came through with a 2-1 win.

Shields (7-3) racked up eight strikeouts while allowing one unearned run on six hits before relievers Aaron Crow, Wade Davis and Greg Holland closed out the Royals' fifth victory in seven games.

Lorenzo Cain aided the cause with an RBI double and scored the eventual winning run on Mike Moustakas' second-inning single off Hiroki Kuroda (4-4), dealt a tough-luck loss despite yielding just two runs and five hits through seven frames.

Kuroda received little help from a New York offense that went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners while falling to 2-6 in June.

"We had a lot of opportunities," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter. "I feel bad for Hiroki. He did exactly what you wanted."

Ichiro Suzuki finished 2-for-4 and knocked in the Yankees' lone run.

The Yankees have won eight of their past 12 versus the Royals.

06/09 10:44:26 ET

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