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Red-hot Royals go for sixth straight win versus Giants

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals are the hottest team in the major leagues right now and go for their sixth win in a row Saturday in the middle test of a three-game series versus the San Francisco Giants.

The Royals currently occupy one of the wild card spots in the American League and sit 2 1/2 games behind Detroit for the Central lead.

Kansas City improved to 13-3 in its last 16 games with Friday's 4-2 victory over the Giants, as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon provided RBI singles in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Butler also hit a two-run home run for Kansas City, winners in three straight and seven of nine at Kauffman Stadium.

"I think we're figuring out a way to win each night," said Butler, who is batting .579 with two homers and six RBI in his last five games. Butler has 11 RBI in his past 13 games.

Jason Vargas started for the Royals and did not record a decision, charged with two runs and nine hits in five innings. Jason Frasor picked up the win with a scoreless sixth inning and Greg Holland later nailed down his 33rd save with two strikeouts in the ninth.

The Royals are 12-4 against the National League this season and their pitchers have a 2.68 earned run average during the impressive 16-game stretch. Looking to keep that going Saturday is James Shields. Shields is 10-6 with a 3.43 ERA and ended a four-start winless streak (0-2) in Sunday's 4-2 win at Oakland with eight innings of two-run ball.

Shields is just 3-4 in nine home starts and 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA in nine career starts against San Francisco.

San Francisco fell to 4-4 on its 10-game road trip and has lost three of the past four games. It is 3 1/2 games behind Los Angeles for the NL West lead and the Dodgers were beaten in Milwaukee Friday night.

As for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner worked eight innings and was reached for four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits to absorb the loss.

"I was able to have some quick innings after the first," said Bumgarner. "I felt just as good there in eighth as I did early on."

Joaquin Arias doubled twice and drove in a run, while Matt Duffy went 2-for-4 with an RBI and both Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse had two hits. The Giants have still won 13 of their last 17 games against AL Central foes.

Taking the mound for the Giants Saturday will be Tim Hudson. Hudson was 7-2 at one point this season and is now 8-8 with a 2.74 earned run average. He is 1-6 in the past seven decisions and did not factor in the outcome of a 4-3 win against the New York Mets on Monday, allowing three runs -- two earned -- in five innings of work.

Hudson is 3-4 in 11 road assignments and 3-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 10 career starts against the Royals. He hasn't faced them since 2004, his last season with Oakland. The Giants have lost six of Hudson's last nine starts and are 13-8 when he toes the rubber.

This series marks the first meeting between San Francisco and Kansas City since 2008, when the Royals took two of three games in KC.

08/09 09:03:18 ET

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