Kansas City (36-43) at Toronto (41-40)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:07 pm EDT Wed Jul 4, 2012
Preview | Box Score | Recap

While the Toronto Blue Jays have struggled to consistently stay above .500 this season, it’s still a challenge for the improved Kansas City Royals to reach that mark.

The Blue Jays look to remain above .500 with a second straight victory over the Royals as this four-game set continues Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

Coming off back-to-back losses, Toronto (41-40) overcame an early three-run deficit by scoring all its runs in the fourth inning of a 6-3 win over Kansas City on Tuesday.

“They put a six spot up and that kind of takes the wind out of you,” said Kansas City slugger Billy Butler, who is 0 for 21 versus Toronto this season.

The victory was the third in eight games for the Blue Jays, who are last in the competitive AL East and have not been more than five games over .500 this season.

Adam Lind went 2 for 4 and hit a three-run homer to highlight Toronto’s big inning Tuesday. It was a much-needed night of production for Lind, who is batting .197 during a difficult season in which he was demoted to the minors in May.

Though Lind has four hits in his last 16 at-bats, he’s homered three times and driven in seven runs during that stretch.

He’s 2 for 5 with a double versus scheduled Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza (3-4, 4.50 ERA), who hopes to build on his best outing of the season.

The right-hander allowed a run and five hits in eight innings of a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Friday to improve to 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four starts since returning to the rotation.

“He’s throwing strikes, he’s not really hurting himself walking guys,” manager Ned Yost told the Royals’ official website.

Mendoza, 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in three starts versus Toronto, allowed four runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings against the visiting Blue Jays on April 21.

The first four hitters in the lineup went 0 for 14 with five strikeouts Tuesday for Kansas City (36-43), which has lost four of five since getting within four games of .500 by winning four in a row. Yost’s team hasn’t been above the break-even point since it was 3-2 on April 10.

Salvador Perez had one of the six hits for the Royals, who pounded out 14 in Monday’s 11-3 victory to end a three-game skid. The catcher is 12 for 32 (.375) with three homers and seven RBIs in his first nine games since making his season debut June 22 after recovering from a knee injury.

The Royals hope to bounce back against converted Toronto reliever Carlos Villanueva (2-0, 3.52), who makes his second start of the season.

After making 22 appearances out of the bullpen, the right-hander gave up three runs and struck out six in five innings while not factoring in a 7-5 win over the Angels on Friday.

“I felt fine in the end,” Villanueva told the Blue Jays’ official website.

In his only start against the Royals, Villanueva allowed four runs in seven innings of a 9-8 victory June 8, 2011.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Mendoza KC vs. C. Villanueva StL
8-10 Record 7-7
4.23 ERA 4.16
104 K 122
59 BB 46
1.42 WHIP 1.27


Wednesday, Jul 4