Kansas City (46-81) snapped a seven-game losing streak overall in the series with Cleveland (56-68) with a 5-2 win Tuesday. However, the victory also gave the Royals six wins in a row over the Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
Mark Teahen continued his recent strong play by going 4-for-4 with a home run and two doubles to lead Kansas City on Tuesday. Teahen, who has raised his average from .195 to .295 since returning in early June from a stint in Triple-A, is batting .412 with three homers and seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
“I didn’t change a whole lot mechanically,” said Teahen, who has 11 hits in his last 19 at-bats against Cleveland. “I just got comfortable with what I was doing and got some confidence. I’ve just been building that more or less ever since I got back.”
The Royals avoided a third straight loss with Tuesday’s victory and improved to 5-3 since dropping 10 of their first 14 games this month. Kansas City, though, was officially eliminated from the AL Central race with 35 games remaining after Detroit beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0.
Tuesday’s defeat was just the fourth in the last 13 games for the Indians, who saw Travis Hafner go 3-for-4 with two doubles to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
The 25-year-old left-hander beat Texas in his first outing with the Royals, but has since gone 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA. De La Rosa pitched well in his last start, though, allowing one run and two hits over five innings of Kansas City’s 5-3 win over Oakland on Friday.
He made his first career start against Cleveland on Aug. 12, and didn’t receive a decision after giving up four runs and three hits in six innings of the Royals’ 6-5 defeat at Jacobs Field.
De La Rosa will be opposed by Paul Byrd (8-6, 4.55), who looks to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season. The right-hander seven-hit Minnesota in a 3-2 victory on Thursday for his first complete game in more than a year.
“You have games where you don’t have your fastball, and today was one of those days,” said Byrd, who is 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA in his last seven outings. “I was grunting, moaning and doing all I can, but they were coming out 83, 84 (mph). I just switched game plans and tried to throw a little slower. Today, it worked.”
Byrd, who pitched for Kansas City from 2001-02, is 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against his former team this season.