The Blue Jays go for their fourth straight win while the Royals try to avoid a four-game skid as the teams meet on Tuesday at Rogers Centre in the middle contest of their three-game series.
Toronto (4-2) is averaging seven runs and batting .306 this season, which are both among the best in the majors. The AL East-leading Blue Jays have 36 hits during their three-game winning streak, helping them take a series from Tampa Bay and beat Kansas City 9-1 in their series opener on Monday.
Lyle Overbay hit a three-run double, Aaron Hill was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs and Vernon Wells homered as the Blue Jays improved to 23-8 in home openers. Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus was back in the lineup after missing a game with sore left heel and went 2-for-3 to boast his season average to .353.
“We can score runs from top to bottom in our lineup,” said Wells, who has homered in back-to-back games. “It takes the pressure off our pitching.”
That pitching limited the Royals (2-5) to only four hits on Monday, with John Buck’s home run the lone blemish. Kansas City has mustered just 20 runs— 13 in its last six contests—while hitting .219.
The Royals have dropped five of their last six games and are one defeat away from their third straight series loss. They’ll turn to Zack Greinke (0-1, 1.29 ERA) to end that skid after he suffered a hard-luck loss in his season debut on Thursday. The right-hander squared off against Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and allowed eight hits while striking out seven over seven innings, but got little support in a 4-1 defeat.
It was Greinke’s first start since Sept. 30, 2005, when he lasted just four innings in a 10-1 loss to the Blue Jays. He missed almost all of last season due to social anxiety disorder.
“All that other stuff, I really haven’t thought about (it) much,” Greinke told the team’s official Web site. “I’m just trying to keep us in the game and win the game.”
Greinke is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in two career starts versus the Blue Jays and will square off against Josh Towers, who was also on the mound for that matchup on Sept. 30, 2005. The right-hander threw a nine-hitter in that meeting, striking out six without a walk.
Towers is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in two career starts versus the Royals—both in 2005. He is making his first start of the season and trying to rebound from a dismal 2006, when he went 2-10 with a career-worst 8.42 ERA in 15 games.
Towers hasn’t pitched since his last spring training appearance on March 31 and will be coming off nine days’ rest.
“It won’t be easy,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “Those finesse guys, a big part of their game is location, and sometimes you can lose that if you’re off too long.”