Royals-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals ended one of their longest losing streaks in club history with an impressive offensive outburst.

Now, they'll try to win back-to-back games against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field for the first time in almost two years when this three-game set concludes Thursday afternoon.

Kansas City (4-14) owns the worst record in baseball thanks to a 12-game skid that is tied for the third-longest in team history.

The Royals ended that slide by hitting a season-high four homers among their 11 hits in Wednesday's 8-2 win at Cleveland (9-7). They had 12 hits in a 4-3 loss a day earlier, but stranded a season-high 11 runners.

"I didn't care how we did it. It's a big monkey off our back," manager Ned Yost said. "Now we can focus on day-to-day baseball.

"Fans have expectations of this team. Well, these guys do, too. They have all been together as winners in the minors. This has been tough, but they are going to break out."

Kansas City could use another strong effort from Alex Gordon and Billy Butler as it tries to win consecutive games at Cleveland for the first time since sweeping a two-game set May 19-20, 2010. That's also the last time they won back-to-back games in the series, with 22 contests taking place since.

Gordon homered among three hits and drove in three Wednesday, but is batting just .197 with three home runs and eight RBIs so far. The left fielder hit .339 while plating 19 runs last April en route to a .303 average, 23 homers and 87 RBIs - all career highs.

Gordon has hit .424 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last eight games in Cleveland.

Butler has three hits while driving in four runs in this series, including a pair of homers Wednesday. The designated hitter has at least one hit in each of his last nine games against the Indians, batting .385.

The Royals will give the ball to Luis Mendoza (0-2, 6.92 ERA), who gets a fourth chance - and second against the Indians - at his first win.

Cleveland hit the right-hander hard on April 15, as Mendoza surrendered nine runs - five earned - and nine hits with two homers and four walks in four innings of a 13-7 home loss.

Mendoza wasn't any better Saturday, giving up four runs and 10 hits before being pulled with one out in the fourth inning and not getting a decision in a 9-5 defeat to Toronto.

He's 1-5 with an 8.02 ERA in eight career starts on the road.

The Indians have dropped five of seven at home partly due to a .186 average while the bullpen has compiled a 7.14 ERA and served up six homers.

Josh Tomlin (1-1, 4.86) didn't need much help from either the offense or relief corps in his most recent trip to the mound, which resulted in one of the best performances in his two-plus years in the majors.

The right-hander yielded one run and five hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings of last Thursday's 2-1 win at Seattle, outdueling Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

"I couldn't be any prouder of my little cowboy," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website of the Texas native.

Tomlin wasn't close to being that sharp against the Royals five days earlier, getting tagged for five runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings of relief. He took over for the ejected Jeanmar Gomez in that 11-9, 10-inning win after Tomlin's turn was skipped following a rainout.

Tomlin has a 3.60 ERA in winning all three home starts against Kansas City, including his lone career complete game in a 7-3 victory Sept. 24, 2010.

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