Oakland (17-17) at Kansas City (11-21)

Cloudy Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri May 14, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals are hoping they’ve turned a corner in a disappointing season.

A three-game series against the Oakland Athletics and three of the game’s best pitchers should provide a true indication.

After showing dramatic improvement in 2003, the Royals were expected to contend in the AL Central this season. However, a slow start and injuries to several starters has Kansas City at the bottom of the division with one of the worst records in the majors.

However, things are starting to turn around.

Mike Sweeney’s two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning Wednesday lifted the Royals to a 4-3 victory over visiting Toronto.

Sweeney’s hit gave Kansas City back-to-back wins for the first time since April 9-11, when it took two of three from Cleveland. The Royals then lost eight straight series before winning two of three from the Blue Jays.

Although the Royals, winners of three of four, are still 10 games below .500, Sweeney isn’t discouraged.

“We’ve played terribly this year and to look at the standings and we’re still in striking distance, that’s pretty encouraging,” he said.

Maintaining their modest momentum won’t be easy against Oakland’s top three starters. Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito have a combined 10-3 career record against Kansas City.

To make matters worse, the Royals have dropped 29 of the last 39 meetings with the A’s, including 17 of 21 at home.

Oakland had a season-high three-game win streak snapped Thursday with a 3-1 loss at Detroit.

Marco Scutaro drove in the only run for the A’s, who failed to hit a home run for the first time in 15 games.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Hudson SF vs. J. Gobble Col
12-6 Record 9-8
3.53 ERA 5.35
103 K 49
44 BB 43
1.26 WHIP 1.35