Cleveland Indians (69-64) at Kansas City Royals (74-60), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals will try not to lose any more ground atop the AL Central when they resume a three-game series versus the Cleveland Indians Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals dropped Friday's series opener to Cleveland, 6-1, and their lead in the division is now just a half-game ahead of Detroit.
Jason Vargas was saddled with the loss in the start and gave up four runs and 10 hits in six innings. Alcides Escobar highlighted the offense with four hits and an RBI, as Kansas City fell for the fourth time in the last six tries.
"That was a tough loss," Escobar said. "I got four hits, but we only got one run. There's nothing we can do about it now."
Kansas City is 2-3 in a stretch of 10 straight games at home and will also welcome Texas to town for three games. The Royals are still 14-6 in the last 20 games at Kauffman Stadium.
Hoping to right the ship for KC Saturday will be starting pitcher James Shields. Shields is 12-7 with a 3.45 earned run average and looks to get back on track after going 3-0 in four starts before Monday's 8-1 loss to the New York Yankees in which he gave up six runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Shields is 4-5 in 12 home starts and 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 15 career starts against the Indians.
Cleveland has won two in a row and five of its last six games, and will try again to spoil KC's hopes of division supremacy.
In Friday's win at Kauffman Stadium, Danny Salazar pitched five scoreless innings for the win and Carlos Santana finished with a two-run homer and three RBI. Michael Brantley posted three hits for the Indians, who pulled within 4 1/2 games of the Royals in the Central standings.
"I have certain teams, Minnesota, Kansas City, that I do well against," noted Santana, who hit five homers at Kauffman Stadium in the Tribe's last series there. "I have good sense when I come here."
Trevor Bauer gets the ball for the Tribe Saturday and he is 5-7 with a 4.18 earned run average. Bauer defeated Houston in Sunday's 3-1 decision with six shutout innings and nine strikeouts, and the Indians have won each of his last three appearances.
Bauer was 0-3 in his previous six trips to the mound and is only 1-5 in nine road assignments this season. He lost his only career start against the Royals on June 11 this season in a 4-1 setback at Kauffman Stadium, charged with three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Indians and Royals will wear 1974-style uniforms Saturday night and have split 14 contests this season.