American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, August 22nd (All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (54-67) at Tampa Bay Rays (68-54), 1:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Luis Mendoza (7-8, 4.26) Tampa Bay - James Shields (11-7, 4.03)
(Sports Network) - Workhorse James Shields aims for a fourth straight win on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Kansas City Royals to wrap up a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
A 16-game winner in 33 starts and a career-high 249 1/3 innings last season, Shields has pitched 23 innings and allowed four runs while defeating Oakland, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since July 31.
He pitched a career-best 11 complete games last season and tossed a three-hit shutout for a complete game against the Athletics to begin the most recent streak, striking out 11 and walking none.
His last loss was July 26 at Baltimore.
In nine lifetime starts against Kansas City, he's 6-2 with a 3.45 earned run average.
The Royals send righty Luis Mendoza to the mound for the first time against the Rays.
The 28-year-old Mexican was 5-8 after a 4-2 loss at the Chicago White Sox in Aug. 6, but has since won two straight starts while giving up 11 hits and five runs in 13 innings.
He's 4-4 in 11 road appearances this season.
Mendoza's 22 appearances this season are approaching his career high, which came in 2008 when he started 11 times and pitched in relief 14 times with the Texas Rangers while going 3-8 with a save and a 8.67 ERA.
On Tuesday, Eric Hosmer's RBI base hit in the 10th inning lifted the Royals over the Rays, 1-0.
With two outs Jeff Francoeur ripped an infield single to the hole at short and Ben Zobrist's throw to first skipped passed Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, allowing Francoeur to move to second. Hosmer followed with a bloop-single into shallow center field and Francoeur scored easily.
Kelvin Herrera (1-1) earned the win after stranding a runner in the ninth and Greg Holland picked up his sixth save of the season after tossing a perfect 10th inning.
Joel Peralta (1-5) gave up Hosmer's RBI single to absorb the loss.
"Any time you play a game like that and you lose 1-0, of course that's no fun," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think our guys may have been just a little bit fatigued tonight."
Luke Hochevar and David Price went toe-to-toe on the mound, each providing sparkling performances.
Hochevar gave up just one hit and struck out a season-high 10 batters over eight frames for the Royals, winners in four of their last five.
Price allowed three hits and struck out eight without walking a batter over eight innings for the Rays, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.
"Both guys, inning after inning matching each other," Hosmer said. "We knew it was going to come down to one run and one big hit to come win the game."
The Royals swept a three-game series from the Rays in June in Kansas City. Tampa Bay won the season series in 2011, five games to two.
08/22 10:23:42 ET