American League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, July 4 (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (44-40) at Cleveland Indians (41-43), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Yordano Ventura (5-7, 3.26) Cleveland - Josh Tomlin (5-5, 3.78)

( - Josh Tomlin tries to follow up the best outing of his career on Friday when the Cleveland Indians open a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field.

Tomlin had lost three straight starts before shutting down Seattle on Saturday with a brilliant performance, as he allowed just one hit and struck out a career-high 11 in his first-ever shutout.

"I knew I felt good and I knew I was commanding the ball to both sides of the plate," said Tomlin, who improved to 5-5 to go along with a 3.78 ERA. "I was on the same page as [catcher Yan Gomes] from the get-go and, the way the defense was playing, it was turning out to be a good night."

Tomlin has faced the Royals 10 times (8 starts) and is 5-2 against them with a 4.80 ERA.

Cleveland enters this matchup after an impressive series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that saw it take the final two contests after being blanked in the opener. Mike Aviles' two-run single in the eighth inning of Wednesday's rubber match lifted the Tribe to a 5-4 win.

Ryan Raburn homered and David Murphy knocked in a run for the Indians, who concluded an eight-game road trip with a 4-4 record.

"It was a fastball and it always feels good," Raburn said of his homer. "Anytime you can help the team is good."

Kansas City, meanwhile, took two of three at Minnesota to open a nine-game road trip. On Wednesday, Jason Vargas pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Royals to a 4-0 win at Target Field.

Vargas (8-3) struck out five, allowing just four hits with two walks during his best outing since May 9, when he went seven scoreless innings in a win over Seattle. The lefty had given up at least two runs in his last five starts.

"He pitched a great game," praised Royals manager Ned Yost. "He was in complete control."

In his second game with the Royals, Raul Ibanez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. The veteran slugger was released by the Angels in late June.

Mike Moustakas, Jarrod Dyson and Eric Hosmer drove in the other runs for Kansas City, winners in 12 of its last 16 away from home.

Getting the call for KC on Friday will be righty Yordano Ventura, who has lost his last two starts. Ventura gave up two runs and seven hits in four innings on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, but was given the loss after his day was cut short thanks to a four-hour rain delay.

"Obviously, I was disappointed. I was prepared to pitch, and I wanted to go back out there, but there was no way I was going to go back out after that rain delay," said Ventura who is 5-7 on the year with a 3.26 ERA.

Ventura has faced the Indians twice this season and is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA against them.

Kansas City has split six meetings with the Tribe this season.

07/04 10:29:03 ET