Gathright and the Royals look to close out a three-game series at Jacobs Field with consecutive victories as the set concludes Thursday afternoon.
The center fielder was recalled from Triple-A Omaha, where he was batting .374 since April 26, and made an instant impact from the No. 9 spot in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory. Gathright went 2-for-3, scored a run, stole a base and made a successful sacrifice as the Royals (22-38) won for just the third time in the last 13 games.
“I just tried to do my job,” said Gathright, who batted just .238 in 134 games with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Royals in 2006. “I’m happy to help the team.”
Kansas City now has a chance to win its second series from AL Central-leading Cleveland (35-22) in as many attempts after taking two of three games at home May 22-24. Despite being in last place in the Central, the Royals are 13-17 on the road and have won nine of their last 13 there.
Odalis Perez (3-5, 5.74 ERA) will try to win consecutive road starts in the same season for the first time since April 6 and 18, 2005, when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The left-hander got the win despite allowing four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings of Kansas City’s 9-4 victory Saturday at Tampa.
“It was nice to have a win like that,” Perez told the Royals’ official Web site. “I have been in a lot of tough games and have come out with a lead and for one reason or another, I come out with a no-decision or a loss. Today was one of those special nights.”
Perez faced Indians starter Fausto Carmona on May 22, but did not get a decision after being reached for three runs and seven hits in six innings of Kansas City’s 4-3 victory. It was his only lifetime appearance against the Indians.
Cleveland, which is 20-7 at Jacobs Field, has yet to lose a series at home this season, but did split a four-game series with Detroit prior to the Royals’ arrival.
Carmona (6-1, 3.29) gets another chance to extend his personal winning streak to seven decisions, which would be the longest by an Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee reeled off nine consecutive victories in a 13-start span from July 18-Sept. 26, 2005.
Carmona escaped without a loss Friday despite yielding five runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings as the Indians rallied for a 12-11 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Along with Perez, Carmona failed to receive a decision in their previous matchup after giving up three runs and nine hits over six innings in a 4-3 defeat. In three lifetime appearances versus the Royals, the right-hander has given up six runs and 13 hits in 8 2-3 innings.
Indians right fielder Casey Blake extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an eighth-inning single Wednesday, the second straight contest he has furthered the streak in his last at-bat. He is 20-for-58 (.345) during his run.