Now that their franchise-record winning streak is over, the Kansas City Royals hope to avoid starting a losing streak.
The Royals look to rebound from their first home loss of the season when they host the Boston Red Sox in the finale of their three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
With Tuesday’s 7-3 setback, Kansas City fell one victory short of matching the 1911 Detroit Tigers for the best home winning streak to start a season. That Tigers team opened the season 12-0 at home to establish the modern major league record.
“You know, maybe it’s a good thing,” Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez said. “The attention will be off us. We can start over. We can start fresh. We can try to get a new winning streak going.”
The Royals, who lost 100 games last season and have had only one winning record at Kauffman Stadium during the last eight years, rallied in the ninth to beat the Red Sox 7-6 in the series opener.
No other team since 1901 had started better than 10-0 at home.
“That’s just the life of a backup catcher,” Mirabelli said. “You have to get in there and give them what you have for that day, and know if you get four hits or zero hits, you’re not going to play the next day. So relax and make sure your team wins. That’s why you’re back there.
“On the personal side, it’s great. I’ll sleep great. It’s even better knowing I contributed to a win.”
STANDINGS (through May 5): Red Sox - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL East. Royals - 1st place, AL Central.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: John Burkett (1-2, 5.66 ERA). Burkett is winless since opening the season with an 8-7 win over Baltimore on April 4, going 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA in five starts since. The veteran right-hander did not get a decision in Boston’s 11-7 loss to Minnesota on Friday, allowing five runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. Burkett is 3-3 with a 4.73 ERA, including one complete game, in nine career starts against Kansas City.
ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Miguel Asencio (2-0, 4.14 ERA). The Royals have won all six of Asencio’s starts this season. The 22-year-old right-hander is coming off his best outing of the season, a seven-hitter in which he struck out six and walked three during Friday’s 5-2 win over Baltimore. Asencio has one career relief appearance against the Red Sox, allowing four runs in one inning.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Manny Ramirez, .344 avg.; Nomar Garciaparra, 6 HRs and 27 runs; Shea Hillenbrand, 26 RBIs; Johnny Damon, 6 SBs. Royals - Ibanez, .312 avg.; Mike Sweeney, 7 HRs and 24 RBIs; Michael Tucker and Sweeney, 18 runs; Desi Relaford, Carlos Febles, 4 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 4-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - Boston has won seven of eight against Kansas City, dating to last season. … SS Garciaparra stretched his hitting streak to nine games Tuesday and is batting .366 with one homer, four RBIs and nine runs scored during the trend. … OF Trot Nixon missed his second straight game with an eye irritation but might play Wednesday. Royals - 1B Sweeney is batting .300 (12-for-40) in his last 12 games with four homers, nine RBIs and nine runs scored. … The Royals have been atop the AL Central since April 4, their longest span of being in sole possession of first place since winning the AL West by 14 games in 1980. … Manager Tony Pena has decided to go with a six-man rotation of LHPs Darrell May, Chris George and Jeremy Affeldt and RHPs Runelvys Hernandez, Miguel Asencio and Kyle Snyder. Affeldt was activated before Tuesday’s game and allowed one run and five hits over four innings, striking out six without issuing a walk in the loss.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 10-8 on the road; Royals - 11-1 at home.