American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, August 12
(All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (72-46) at Kansas City Royals (64-53), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44)
Kansas City - Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics got a glimpse of just how dominant
Jon Lester can be his last time out. Now he'll try to win his third straight
game in an A's uniform and attempt to slow down the red-hot Kansas City Royals
in the second test of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Lester was terrific in beating the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, as he fired a
three-hit shutout to improve to 12-7 on the year to go along with a 2.44 ERA.
He has now won both of his starts since being acquired from Boston and has
allowed just three runs in 15 2/3 innings.
"Every once in a while you kind of look over and you're like, 'Holy cow, Jon
Lester's pitching,'" said Stephen Vogt. "To have a guy like that with his
experience and his ability, it's pretty special to have that every five days.
And the other four aren't so bad."
In his last 10 outings, the lefty is 6-0 with a 1.21 ERA.
That run could continue on Tuesday, as he owns an 8-3 lifetime mark versus the
Royals with a 1.65 ERA in 12 starts.
Kansas City moved into first place in the AL Central with its eighth straight
win on Monday, as Alcides Escobar singled in Nori Aoki with the tie-breaking
run in the seventh inning to carry the Royals to a 3-2 victory.
Coupled with Detroit's loss in Pittsburgh, the Royals find themselves in first
place this late in a season for the first time since Aug. 29, 2003. They moved
a half-game ahead of the Tigers, who not only lost to the Pirates, but may
have lost ace Justin Verlander to a shoulder injury.
KC was eight games out of first place on July 21, but is now 11 games over
.500 for the first time since July 27, 2003. That season, the Royals finished
83-79 and in third place in their division.
Yordano Ventura gave up two hits and as many runs over the first six innings
for the Royals. Kelvin Herrera (3-2) struck out a pair of batters in the
seventh and Greg Holland escaped a shaky ninth by getting a huge double-play
ball off the bat of Derek Norris. Holland retired Vogt on a fly ball to center
to secure his AL-leading 35th save.
"We're capitalizing on just about every opportunity we get right now," Royals
manager Ned Yost said. "It's fun to watch."
Brandon Moss had a two-run single to center with the bases full in the third
inning, but the AL West leaders lost their second straight to open this four-
Sonny Gray (12-6) gave up six hits and three runs -- two earned -- over seven
innings to suffer his third consecutive loss.
On Tuesday Kansas City will hand the ball to righty Jeremy Guthrie, who has
won his last three starts and is also coming off a complete game win his last
time out. Guthrie went the distance to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on
Thursday, holding them to a pair of runs and seven hits to run his record to
8-9 with a 4.35 ERA.
"It's nice," Guthrie said. "I think it's the pitcher's goal every time to get
as deep as they can. I haven't done that very well, especially the last couple
Guthrie pitched six scoreless innings to beat the A's two starts ago and is
4-4 in 11 games (10 starts) against them with a 4.29 ERA.
Kansas City took two of three from the A's earlier this month.
08/12 10:35:14 ET