Following a rough end to their longest winning streak of the season, the New York Yankees are hoping Phil Hughes can continue his recent success and get them back on track.
The Yankees will try for their seventh win in eight games overall and sixth in a row against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in the Bronx.
New York (48-40) had its six-game run snapped in stunning fashion Sunday, as Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Baltimore's 2-1 victory. It was Rivera's second blown save in 31 opportunities.
"Whenever it happens you're kind of shocked, that's how good (Rivera) is,'' manager Joe Girardi said.
Rivera is looking to reach 30 saves for the 15th time, which would break a tie with Trevor Hoffman for the major league record.
Hughes (4-7, 4.55 ERA) could give him the opportunity to achieve the milestone in this game, given how he's pitched in his last two starts. The right-hander has yielded three runs in 15 innings while going 1-1 in those games.
He allowed one run over seven innings to snap a three-start losing streak with a 7-3 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday.
"You want to keep that ball rolling,'' Hughes said. "Hopefully it's the start of a good stretch I can roll off here.''
He'll have to pitch better at Yankee Stadium, where he's lost four straight starts with 9.00 ERA.
Despite a 6.10 ERA in seven career starts versus the Royals, Hughes has gone 5-1 in those games and has won his last five matchups. He gave up six runs and two homers over 5 2-3 innings of an 11-6 victory at Kansas City on May 10 in the latest one.
The Yankees have given Hughes 31 runs of support in those five consecutive victories.
Mike Moustakas and Jarrod Dyson delivered the home runs off Hughes on May 10, though they're a combined 3 for 16 with seven strikeouts against him lifetime.
Teammate Eric Hosmer is hitless in seven career at-bats against Hughes, but comes in having gone 15 for 37 with five homers and nine RBIs in his last nine games.
The Royals (41-44), who haven't lost consecutive contests since a four-game skid June 18-22, begin a seven-game trip after finishing a 3-3 homestand with a 10-4 defeat to Oakland on Sunday.
"We've just got to be more consistent,'' Hosmer said.
After a solid start to the season, Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie (7-6, 4.29) hasn't been able to find his form in the past four starts, going 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA.
The right-hander allowed five runs over 6 1-3 innings and left without a decision in a 6-5 win over Cleveland on Wednesday.
Guthrie had dropped seven straight decisions against New York before giving up one run over seven innings of a 4-2 victory at Yankee Stadium on July 29, 2011. He's 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Yankees.
Vernon Wells hit a pair of home runs to help New York sweep the three-game series in Kansas City from May 10-12. He's gone 8 for 21 (.381) in his last five games against the Royals.
Billy Butler went 1 for 12 in that series, leaving him at 2 for 20 in his last five games against the Yankees.