The Kansas City Royals are hoping their first series win of the season will also be their first in Toronto since 2002.
The Royals go for back-to-back victories when they meet the Blue Jays on Wednesday in the deciding contest of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Kansas City (3-5) won for just the third time in its last 13 games in Toronto on Tuesday, beating the Blue Jays 6-3 to even the series. The Royals haven’t won a road series with Toronto since taking two of three games from Aug. 19-21, 2002.
They also won their first road game in only their second try this season, after it took them until their 13th road contest of 2006 to earn a victory.
Kansas City’s pitching staff, which has a 3.93 ERA this season, held the Blue Jays (4-3) to a season low in runs on Tuesday. The Royals finally provided some offensive support for the strong pitching, scoring their second-most runs of 2007, and tying their season high with 12 hits.
Rookie third baseman Alex Gordon’s two-run homer - the first of his career - gave Kansas City a 4-1 lead in the sixth. David DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek each went 3-for-5 with an RBI out of the top two spots in the order.
“We put some hits together for the first time all year, other than our opener,” Royals manager Buddy Bell told the team’s official Web site. “Hopefully that will get some guys off a little bit.”
Rookie Joakim Soria pitched two perfect innings for his first career save, as the Royals snapped their own three-game skid and ended Toronto’s three-game winning streak.
Kansas City will hand the ball to Jorge De La Rosa (1-0, 1.29 ERA), who is coming off one of his best career performances. The left-hander held the Detroit Tigers to four hits and one run over a career-high seven innings in his season debut, a 3-1 win on Friday.
The converted reliever went 3-4 with a 5.18 ERA in 10 starts for the Royals last season after being acquired from Milwaukee in the week before the trade deadline. De La Rosa made one relief appearance versus the Blue Jays in 2005 while with the Brewers, allowing one hit over two scoreless innings, but will be making his first start against Toronto.
He will be opposed by Gustavo Chacin (0-0, 4.50). The left-hander gave up six hits and three runs - all on solo homers - over six innings in his season debut on Friday, but didn’t receive a decision in a 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. He threw 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes and forced 10 groundouts.
“I saw Gus good all night, I really did,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “I liked his pace. He kept us in the ballgame, that’s all we want from anybody.”
Chacin allowed one earned run over 7 2-3 innings in his only career start versus the Royals, a 7-2 win on Oct. 2, 2005.
Blue Jays right fielder Alex Rios is batting .323 and has hit safely in every game this season. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Tuesday.