Royals target series win over D-backs
(SportsNetwork.com) - Don't look now, but the Kansas City Royals are in the thick of it.
The surging Royals can further improve their position in the American League postseason chase on Wednesday night, when they return for the second game of a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Kansas City has won 10 of its last 13 games after opening the series with a 12-2 victory on Tuesday night, in which it hit three home runs. The Royals had just one homer in their previous seven games and are dead last in the majors with 65.
"You score 10 runs off of three swings of the bat, you'll take it," manager Ned Yost said. "I'm not really (used to it), but I'll take it when I can get it."
The Royals have 39 hits in their last three games, the pitching staff has delivered to the tune of a 2.75 earned run average in the last 13 games and the bullpen has surrendered just three earned runs over the last 20 innings of work.
Add it all together and Kansas City is just a half-game behind Toronto for the final AL wild card playoff berth.
Taking the mound for KC on Wednesday is young right-hander Yordano Ventura, who scored a 6-3 win over Minnesota on Thursday after allowing two runs in seven innings and striking out seven.
He's struggled recently on the road, though, going 0-1 in his last two outings away from home with a 9.64 ERA after he'd pitched to a sub-2.50 ERA and won four of five decisions in his initial six starts away from home.
Ventura has never started against the Diamondbacks.
Kansas City has won five straight interleague road games and has won all but four of 13 games against National League foes this season. The Royals won just nine times in 20 games against the NL in 2013 and haven't won 10 or more interleague games in a season since 2008.
Arizona, meanwhile, has won just two of its last eight against the AL.
"This was not a good night for us all around," manager Kirk Gibson said after Tuesday loss.
The Diamondbacks start Josh Collmenter, who'll look for his first interleague win in his fifth interleague start while trying to improve a four-start stretch at home in which he's gone 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA.
He allowed three runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings while getting a no- decision in Arizona's 7-4 defeat of Pittsburgh on Thursday, and has won just once in his last five outings.
Collmenter has never started against Kansas City.
On Tuesday, Nori Aoki's grand slam helped fuel an eight-run fifth inning and the Royals defeated the Diamondbacks. Billy Butler finished 4-for-5 with a three-run homer and two runs scored and Salvador Perez also drove in three runs with a homer among his three hits for the Royals.
Danny Duffy (6-10) won his first game in his last six starts after surrendering just one run on three hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Mark Trumbo provided two hits and an RBI for Arizona. Starter Wade Miley (7-8) gave up 10 runs on nine hits and three walks over 4 2/3 frames.
08/06 10:35:28 ET