Santana (5-0, 2.48 ERA) is only two wins shy of his total from last year, when he struggled to go 7-14 with a 5.76 ERA. He has won all three of his road starts this season for Los Angeles (20-13), posting a 3.72 ERA in those games.
The right-hander will try to follow up another victory by Saunders, who wasn’t very effective in Sunday’s 6-5 win over Baltimore. Saunders moved to 6-0 despite allowing four runs and a career-high 12 hits over five innings, joining New York’s Chien-Ming Wang as the only the six-game winners in the AL.
Santana is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts against Kansas City (14-16) in his career.
Hunter went 5-for-9 with four RBIs over the weekend and is batting .314 for the season. He’s never finished a season batting higher than .289.
“Sometimes when you’re hitting around .300, you want to maintain it, so you cut your swing down,” Hunter said. “I haven’t been swinging as hard as I used to and I’m trying to have better at-bats.”
Vladimir Guerrero’s single in the first inning broke his 0-for-15 drought - the first time he had gone hitless in five consecutive games in his career. The Angels’ slugger, though, is just 1-for-13 in his career against Brett Tomko, who is scheduled to start Monday for the Royals.
Kansas City is beginning a season-high 10-game homestand with some momentum after completing a 3-2 road trip with two straight wins in Cleveland. The Royals won 2-0 on Sunday as Miguel Olivo scored both runs and Gil Meche pitched seven stellar innings.
“The games we win are going to be tight games because of a lack of offense,” said Royals manager Trey Hillman, whose team has scored an AL-low 107 runs.
Tomko (1-3, 6.26) hasn’t won since his first outing of the season on April 6. The right-hander had lost three straight starts before allowing five runs in a season-low 3 1-3 innings last Tuesday at Texas, although the Royals went on to win 9-5.
“I’m just fighting it right now,” Tomko told the Royals’ official Web site. “My secondary pitches are just garbage; they’re just not working.”
Tomko allowed five runs over seven innings in a 5-3 loss to the Angels on April 17.
That win for the Angels tied the season series at a game apiece and ended Los Angeles’ six-game losing streak to Kansas City.