After a highly charged series against one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays begin a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals, who have one of the worst records in the American League.
Toronto (57-56) visits Kauffman Stadium on Friday having gone 12-7 since July 19. The Blue Jays, however, dropped two of three games in a chippy series with the Yankees, who had won 19 of their previous 26.
After Tuesday’s 9-2 loss in which Blue Jays starter Josh Towers hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch, and Roger Clemens retaliated by throwing at Alex Rios, which resulted in both benches clearing, Wednesday’s game was more subdued, with the Blue Jays pounding out 16 hits in a 15-4 victory.
“It’s the right way to react to what happened,” Wells said. “Anytime you can do that after a loss like (Tuesday) is huge. That’s what you have to do in a situation like this when you’re playing one of your rivals and you need a big win.”
The Blue Jays have lost six of their last 10 games at Kauffman Stadium.
Shaun Marcum (8-4, 3.63 ERA) heads to the mound for Toronto looking to win his fourth straight start. Marcum allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings Saturday against the Texas Rangers in a 9-5 win.
Marcum, who is 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight road starts, has made one start and three relief appearances in his career against the Royals (50-63). He has a 0.75 ERA over 12 innings, picking up a win in a 2006 start when he held Kansas City to one run in six innings of a 6-3 victory.
The right-hander pitched two innings of relief against Kansas City on April 10. He allowed one hit, but struck out two and didn’t allow a run.
Gil Meche (7-9, 3.96) will try to avoid losing his fourth straight start as he takes the mound for the Royals. Meche has a 6.38 ERA in his last three outings and is coming off one of the worst starts during that stretch.
The right-hander allowed six runs and six hits, and also walked five in four innings on Sunday against the New York Yankees in an 8-5 loss. Meche is 4-3 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance against the Blue Jays, whom he has not faced this season.
Kansas City closed its road trip 3-6 with a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins to take two of three in the series. Kyle Davies scattered three hits in 6 2-3 innings, while Jason LaRue hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the only run of the game.
“It means you’ve been around a while,” said Royals manager Buddy Bell, who notched his 500th managerial victory.
“How many games have we got left? About 50?” he said. “Maybe we can get another 40 tacked on. That would be nice.”
The Royals play their next seven at home, where they are 26-32.