A breakthrough offensive performance pushed the Kansas City Royals to the brink of their longest win streak this season.
The Royals will try to build off that game while attempting to earn their fourth straight win overall and sixth in a row over the Cleveland Indians in Thursday night’s series finale at Kauffman Stadium.
Yuniesky Betancourt(notes) had two hits and three RBIs on Wednesday night as Kansas City endured a Cleveland rally for a 9-7 victory, scoring its highest run total since June 27. The Royals (51-69) had batted .228 in their previous 14 games - 48 points lower than their season average - and averaged a little more than two runs per contest.
“Every bit of the order we had offensive production,” manager Ned Yost said. “All and up down the lineup it was a good night offensively.”
Yost’s club has also gotten a 2.29 ERA from its starters during its modest win streak.
Kyle Davies(notes) (6-7, 5.22 ERA) will try to continue that run while building off his own solid outing, Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Yankees. He allowed three runs and seven hits over five innings in that win but hasn’t beaten any team but the Yankees since May 28.
After three consecutive victories over Cleveland, Davies was on the wrong end of a 4-0 decision May 12 despite allowing two runs over five innings. He’s 3-4 with a 5.79 ERA in seven career starts against the Indians.
This time, he’ll face a team that’s dropped eight of 10 overall and three straight on the road.
Having lost his past four decisions, Mitch Talbot(notes) (8-10, 4.25) seems an unlikely candidate to change those trends. The right-hander, who recently spent time on the disabled list, has a 5.53 ERA over his last six starts but has also received 10 runs of support since his previous win June 27.
He was tagged for six runs over four innings in his return from a strained back in Saturday’s 9-3 loss to Seattle.
“I felt pretty well,” Talbot told the team’s website. “I just missed a lot of spots over the plate. It just wasn’t good.”
In his only start against Kansas City on May 20, Talbot was reached for six runs over six innings as his team fell by the same 9-3 margin.
A similar performance on Thursday could help the Royals complete their first home sweep of the Indians since May 8-10, 2006.
Travis Hafner(notes), hitting .467 in his last 10 games, is expected to make his return to the lineup after walking in a pinch-hit appearance Wednesday. The Indians designated hitter has three hits in seven at-bats, including a grand slam, since returning from the DL (sore right shoulder) on Sunday.
The Royals haven’t won at least four in a row since a five-game run Sept. 7-11.
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