Royals-Yankees Preview

The Associated Press

Getting a start at home might be the best thing for the New York Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda at this point.

Hitting the road could help the Kansas City Royals get back on track.

Kuroda will try to rebound from one of his worst career starts in Monday night's series opener as he'll face a Royals team looking to extend its longest road winning streak in two seasons to five.

After spending the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kuroda (3-5, 4.50 ERA) has already made a home in the Bronx, going 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts there. The right-hander, though, has a 6.23 ERA while losing all four of his road starts after giving up a career high-tying seven runs in five innings of Wednesday's 8-1 loss to Toronto.

Kuroda gave up a season-high three homers, with six of the runs scored against him coming with two outs.

"I'm hoping I can be more consistent than I am right now, but unfortunately, it's not the way it's going right now," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "But it will come."

The Yankees (21-20) could use another solid home start from the veteran after they lost for the sixth time in eight games Sunday, 5-2 to Cincinnati.

"The bottom line is we still didn't score a lot of runs. That seems to be what we're struggling with right now,'' said manager Joe Girardi, whose team has scored two or fewer five times during that eight-game stretch.

While New York tries to avoid its first 0-3 skid at home since getting swept by Boston from June 7-9, the Royals (16-24) are going for their first 5-0 run away from home since an eight-game stretch Sept. 13-27, 2008.

Kansas City's major league-worst home record fell to 5-17 with Sunday's 2-0 loss to Arizona.

The Royals, losers of four of five since a season-best 4-0 run, make their first visit to Yankee Stadium since taking two of three from May 10-12, 2011. It was their first series win in the Bronx in 12 years.

Kansas City opens this three-game series with Felipe Paulino (1-1, 1.93) making his fourth start of the season. In his season debut May 5 after coming off the disabled list with forearm tightness, the right-hander retired the first 11 batters he faced and blanked the Yankees for six innings in a 5-1 home win May 5.

Kuroda took the loss in that matchup – his first against Kansas City - after giving up three runs in 4 1-3 innings.

Derek Jeter, who finished 8 for 17 with a homer and two doubles as these teams split four games at Kauffman Stadium from May 3-6, should be ready to go Monday after getting hit on the wrist by a grounder in the ninth inning Sunday.

Jeter has batted .391 in his last 26 games against the Royals and .431 in his last 12 at home in the series.

First baseman Mark Teixeira will return to the lineup and bat seventh after being limited to one pinch-hitting appearance during the weekend series against Cincinnati because of bronchial issues. Raul Ibanez will likely also be in the lineup, as he's batting .326 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games after hitting a two-run shot Sunday.

Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who matched a career high with four hits Sunday, is 4 for 8 with a double off Kuroda. Billy Butler is 2 for 3 with two doubles off him, while Alex Gordon is 3 for 3 in that matchup.

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