Royals try to bounce back against Tribe
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kansas City Royals will try to avoid losing more ground atop the American League Central on Friday evening as they begin a three-game series with the playoff-hopeful Cleveland Indians.
The Royals were aiming for a three-game sweep of Minnesota on Thursday, but lost, 11-5, in 10 innings as the Twins scored six runs in the extra frame.
Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings, while Bruce Chen gave up six runs on five hits in the 10th to take the loss.
"I should have just pitched better," Chen said. "Maybe if we put up a zero in that inning, we can win."
Alex Gordon hit a solo homer and ended with two RBI for the Royals, who saw their lead over Detroit for first place dip to 1 1/2 games after the Tigers beat the New York Yankees earlier in the day.
Jason Vargas will get the call for the Royals and had a two-start win streak stopped with a 3-1 loss to Texas on Sunday. The left-hander yielded 11 hits and four walks over six innings, but did minimize the damage to three runs, including two earned.
"I thought it was a start that he really had to grind out," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I thought he did a phenomenal job. He didn't have any clean innings, but I thought he did a phenomenal job keeping us in the game."
Vargas, though, still fell to 10-6 with a 3.17 earned run average this year and is 3-2 lifetime versus Cleveland with a 4.71 ERA in seven meetings.
The Indians come into this series four games back of the AL's second wild card spot and having won four of their past five games. That includes a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
Carlos Carrasco allowed just one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for the Indians. Jose Ramirez finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Michael Bourn went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
"When you're starting you need to have three pitches going and that's what has been really impressive about him, is that he has all three of his pitches going," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona about Carrasco.
Francona gives tonight's starting assignment to Danny Salazar, who avoided a third straight losing start with a no-decision against Houston on Saturday. The 24-year-old righty gave up two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and two walks over six innings, striking out seven to allow his team to claim an eventual 3-2 win.
Salazar had won three straight starts before the consecutive losses and is 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA on the year.
He is 1-2 in three career meetings with the Royals, posting a 5.71 ERA.
The Royals have won five of six at home this season versus the Indians.
08/29 10:35:53 ET