Royals aim to continue mastery of Rays

(SportsNetwork.com) - Left-hander Matt Moore looks for better luck against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night when the Tampa Bay Rays travel to Kauffman Stadium to begin a three-game series.

The Rays have lost nine of their last 13 meetings with the Royals and were consistently hit hard by them in 2013 while dropping six of seven games, posting a 7.95 earned run average in the season series and allowing at least seven runs five times.

Thus far this season, Tampa Bay has allowed three or fewer runs in five of seven games.

Moore allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 2-13 matchup with Kansas City en route to dropping a 7-2 decision at Tropicana Field in June. He's making his second start of 2014 after losing, 3-0, to Toronto on Wednesday.

In that game, the 24-year-old Florida native allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

He's 15-7 in 33 career road appearances.

The Royals counter with fellow lefty Jason Vargas, who makes his second start in a Kansas City uniform since joining the team as a free agent in the offseason.

The 31-year-old California native signed a four-year deal worth $32 million and allowed a single run over seven innings while getting a no-decision in a 2-1 loss at Detroit in his Wednesday debut.

He was beaten, 7-1, in his last meeting with the Rays, surrendering 10 hits and five runs in four innings while still with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In four previous games against Tampa Bay, Vargas was 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA.

On Sunday at Tampa Bay, Yu Darvish tossed seven innings in his 2014 debut and the Texas Rangers avoided a three-game sweep with a 3-0 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Alex Cobb pitched well in the start for Tampa Bay, holding Texas to three singles with a walk and six strikeouts over seven frames.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Chris Sale tossed eight scoreless innings as the Chicago White Sox downed the Royals, 5-1, to avoid a three-game sweep.

James Shields (0-1) was the hard-luck loser, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out six over seven innings.

Alex Gordon had an RBI single and Lorenzo Cain went 2-for-3 in the setback for Kansas City. .

04/07 10:13:15 ET