Royals-Angels Preview

Only a thumb injury was able to stop the Kansas City Royals' Yordano Ventura from going deeper in his season debut, while C.J. Wilson of the Los Angeles Angels tossed a gem of his own as he tries to bounce back from a trying year.

The unbeaten Royals will try to continue their best start in 12 years Sunday when Ventura faces the Angels for the first time since a superb postseason performance.

Ventura was impressive through six-plus innings of a 10-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday, yielding one run and four hits. However, the right-hander crumpled to the ground in the seventh and had to leave with a cramp in his thumb.

"I don't know. Maybe dehydration?" manager Ned Yost told MLB's official website. "I know I get them sometimes when I'm driving my tractor on the farm for a long time - my thumb will do the same thing. It probably has to do with not taking a lot of fluids.

"But he's fine now."

Ventura looked more than fine against the Angels (2-3) in Game 2 of the AL division series last fall, yielding one run in seven innings of a 4-1 win. He allowed two runs and seven hits in four innings of a 6-2 home loss in his only regular-season matchup June 28.

Wilson turned in an unexpected performance of a different kind in Game 3 of the ALDS. The veteran left-hander was pulled with two outs in the first after giving up a three-run double to Alex Gordon in an 8-3 loss, as the Royals (5-0) completed a sweep on their way to the AL pennant.

That performance capped a tough season for Wilson, who went 13-10 with a 4.51 ERA, his highest in six years.

He got 2015 off to a strong start Tuesday, tossing two-hit ball over eight innings in a 2-0 win at Seattle in what manager Mike Scioscia dubbed a "masterpiece."

Wilson felt otherwise.

"I disagree. For me, that's not a masterpiece," Wilson said. "It was good enough. I'll take it."

That's mostly been the case in his last seven regular-season starts against Kansas City, compiling a 3.18 ERA while winning all four decisions. However, he lasted just 3 2-3 innings and was tagged for four runs with four walks before escaping without a decision in a 5-4 road loss to the Royals on June 29.

He'll be facing a Kansas City team that's batting .324 with eight homers and averaging 6.2 runs. They pounded out 12 hits with two home runs in Saturday's 6-4 win, clinching their best start to a season since opening 9-0 in 2003.

"We know the strength of our club, and everyone really buys into our style of play," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "If we can get that lead and keep adding on to it, and then give it to those guys in the back end of the bullpen, we're confident against anybody."

Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez have managed at least one hit in each game this season. They have a combined batting average of .386 with five homers and 21 RBIs.

Los Angeles superstar Mike Trout is 7 for 18 with one homer and three RBIs this season. He has four hits in this series, and has a career .380 average with seven home runs in 21 regular-season matchups with the Royals, hitting safely in all but one of those games.


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