American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, June 18th (All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (34-34) at Cleveland Indians (34-35), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.74) Cleveland - Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.79)
(Sports Network) - Ervin Santana tries to pitch the Kansas City Royals over the .500 mark on Tuesday when they continue a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Kansas City got back to the break-even mark on Monday, as pinch-runner Elliot Johnson scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the ninth inning to lift the Royals to a 2-1 win.
Billy Butler started the big inning with a line drive double to left off Bryan Shaw (0-1). Lorenzo Cain was then walked and David Lough reached on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Matt Albers followed with a pitch in the dirt that allowed Johnson to cross the plate.
Greg Holland then had a shaky bottom of the ninth. He allowed a Michael Bourn double and a wild pitch that put him on third with one out. Holland escaped the jam, though, by striking out Mike Aviles and getting Jason Kipnis to ground out to secure the victory and collect his 15th save of the year.
Aaron Crow (3-2) recorded the last two outs of the eighth to earn the win.
Eric Hosmer had the only RBI for the Royals, who have won 11 of 13 and will be trying to go over .500 for the first time in exactly a month.
"It's important to get to .500, but now it's more important to move past that," manager Ned Yost said.
Carlos Santana homered in the sixth for Cleveland, which lost for only the second time in its last six tries.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco yielded just one run on four hits while fanning four in 7 1/3 innings. It was his first appearance since a seven-game suspension that took effect on June 9.
"He should be confident the way he threw the ball," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "It was really exciting to see."
Pitching has been a big reason for the Royals' recent turnaround, as the staff is pitching to a 1.69 ERA over the run, while holding the opposition to a .217 clip.
Santana has won his last two starts and is coming off a brilliant effort his last time out. Against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday Santana allowed just an unearned run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings to run his record to 5-5, while lowering his ERA to 2.74.
However, he is just 3-8 lifetime against the Indians with a 4.33 ERA in 15 starts. He did toss seven scoreless innings to beat them earlier in the year, though, and also tossed a no-hitter against the Indians back in 2011.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will turn to righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who is 5-4 with a 4.79 ERA. Jimenez beat the Texas Rangers last Wednesday, holding them to a run and four hits in five innings.
Jimenez scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to beat the Royals back on April 29 and is 3-2 in five starts against them with a 3.38 ERA.
The Royals and Indians split a four-game series in Kansas City between April 27 and 29, with Kansas City winning the first two and Cleveland the last two. The Royals won 10 of 18 games between the teams in 2012.
06/18 10:52:24 ET