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Royals carry best interleague mark into series opener with Rockies

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals try to improve upon the majors' best interleague record on Tuesday when they open a brief two-game series with the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Kansas City is 14-4 versus the National League this season and a big reason why the team sits atop the American League Central standings by a pair of games over the Detroit Tigers.

The Royals continued to roll on Monday in Minnesota, as Erik Kratz hit a pair of home runs to help Kansas City to a 6-4 win. Salvador Perez drove in two for the Royals, who have won five of six.

Jason Vargas (10-5) gave up a run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts over seven innings to pick up the win.

"I was throwing the ball but they put it in play quite a bit," said Vargas. "I can't do much about it after that, but the guys behind me did great tonight."

Getting the call for the Royals on Tuesday will be righty James Shields, who is 11-6 with a 3.29 ERA. Shields did not get a decision on Thursday against Oakland, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings of his team's 7-3 win.

Shields is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings in August.

Shields has split two starts versus the Rockies and has pitched to a 4.15 ERA in those outings.

Colorado, meanwhile, will counter with left-handed rookie Tyler Matzek, who has lost his last four starts. Matzek lost in San Diego on Wednesday, as he surrendered five runs and eight hits in six innings, dropping him to 2-8 on the year to go along with a 5.50 ERA. However, he did fan a career-best nine batters in the loss.

"I felt really good, felt like I was hitting my spots," Matzek said. "The first inning was a little rough (three hits and a walk), but after that, I settled in. I had good control of the slider today."

Colorado, which owns the worst record in the National League, swept a doubleheader from the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, taking the first game, 10-9, before winning the nightcap, 10-5.

"I always say, no matter what your record is or where you are in the standings, it's always more fun to smile after a game than frown," Cuddyer said. "And we're able to smile after two games today."

Kansas City swept a two-game set from the Rockies earlier in the year.

08/19 11:05:07 ET

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