MLB

Royals-Tigers Preview

After jumping on the Detroit Tigers early to even their series, the Kansas City Royals can finish the weekend set with a similar performance against a shaky starting pitcher.

With the AL Central lead on the line, Detroit will turn Sunday to Shane Greene, who has been one of the league's worst hurlers in recent weeks.

Following three starts in which he posted a 0.39 ERA and earned a win in each outing, Greene (3-2, 5.56 ERA) has allowed 20 earned runs over his last 11 innings.

The right-hander lasted only 2 2-3 on Tuesday and surrendered five runs in a 5-2 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

"This isn't the first time this has ever happened to anybody and it probably won't be the last time," Greene said of his decline. "So I've got to keep working - it's a long season. I believe in myself, I believe in the process and we'll get 'em next time."

That next time will come against a Royals (19-11) team looking to maintain first place in the division - a position the club ceded to the Tigers (19-12) in a loss Friday before earning it back with a 6-2 win Saturday.

"I think it's going to be like that all year long," manager Ned Yost said of the back-and-forth division race. "It's just going to be give and take."

Alcides Escobar hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch of the game and Jeremy Guthrie pitched 7 1-3 strong innings in the victory.

Escobar has gone 4 for 10 with two runs and two RBIs in two games since returning from a concussion and left cheek contusion that cost him seven contests from April 30-May 7.

"He's just as tough as they come in this game," Yost told MLB's website. "A lot of times when guys get hit in the head there's a little trepidation in there when they come back. But Esky stuck his nose right back in it last night and right back at it today."

Right-hander Chris Young (2-0, 1.06) will follow Guthrie for his second start of the season, both against Detroit. Young joined the Royals' rotation in place of the injured Jason Vargas and pitched five no-hit innings against the Tigers on May 1. Kansas City's bullpen eventually blew the no-hitter in the eighth inning of a 4-1 victory.

Eric Hosmer, who scored twice in that win, went 2 for 5 with a double and two RBIs on Saturday to continue his excellent start to the season. The 25-year-old is on pace for 135 RBIs, 27 home runs and a .946 OPS - which would all mark career bests.

Lorenzo Cain raised his average to .339 with a 2-for-5 performance Saturday. He has hit safely in eight straight and is 9 for 23 (.391) against the Tigers this season.

Miguel Cabrera ranks among the league's best with a .333 average and .986 OPS despite a hitless day Saturday, but he's done little in his career against Young.

Cabrera is 2 for 16 against the 34-year-old - a .125 clip that ranks as his second-worst average against any pitcher with at least 16 at-bats, trailing only his numbers against teammate David Price (1 for 17).

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