Inquirer Daily News

Royals take on Tribe aiming to stay above .500

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals will take any good sign they can get.

A modest three-game win streak is the latest indication of a possible turnaround these days, and the Royals will try to stretch it further when they host the Cleveland Indians in game two of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City won 10 games in a row during June and catapulted to the top spot in the American League's Central Division, but followed it up with a prolonged skid that's seen losses in 18 of 30 games since. A win in Thursday's opener was the third in a row, however, and got the team back above .500.

"It was one of the best feelings, and hopefully we have more of those moments the rest of the season," Kansas City's Nori Aoki said.

Yordano Ventura takes the mound for the Royals amid a strong stretch of his own at home, where he's posted a 2.63 earned run average in his last four starts -- including a 4-1 defeat of the Indians on June 11 in which he tossed seven effective innings. He defeated the Indians in his last trip to Ohio as well, allowing a solo home run in a 7-1 triumph on July 4.

Meanwhile, Cleveland's Josh Tomlin will try to end a three-start skid that's yielded two losses and a 6.88 ERA. He was dinged for four runs in 4 1/3 innings on Sunday at Detroit and hasn't won since striking out 11 in Seattle on June 28.

He matched up against Ventura on July 4 and allowed 10 hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

That said, he's allowed just two runs in his last 13 1/3 innings over two starts in Kansas City.

On Thursday, Aoki drove in the winning run in the 14th inning as the Royals grabbed a 2-1 win.

With Marc Rzepczynski (0-3) on the mound, Lorenzo Cain led off the 14th with a single and then stole second with John Axford on the mound. Danny Valencia then struck out, but Aoki hit a grounder down the third base line and into left field as Cain raced home for the win.

Mike Moustakas scored the other run in the contest for the Royals.

Aaron Crow (5-1) got the win for striking out the side in the top of the 14th.

Yan Gomes drove in the only run of the game for the Indians. Carlos Santana had two hits and scored a run.

Corey Kluber carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and went nine innings for Cleveland as he gave up an unearned run on two hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

Danny Duffy pitched well for Kansas City in the start, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven shutout innings of work.

07/25 10:54:57 ET