Indians-Royals Preview

The Kansas City Royals didn't completely break out offensively during a needed victory, but do have something positive to build on for the time being.

They'll try to win consecutive games for the first in almost two weeks Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians.

After averaging 6.6 hits and plating one run five times during a 1-6 stretch, Kansas City (30-20) recorded nine hits and used a three-run third against Corey Kluber to win 4-2 on Wednesday. Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer each had two hits with an RBI as the Royals went 4 for 5 with runners in scoring position after going 1 for 7 during Monday's 2-1 series-opening defeat.

''We started the game off great. We just had some great at-bats,'' said Kansas City manager Ned Yost, whose team last won back-to-back contests during a five-game run May 17-23. "They were aggressive and when they were getting their pitch, they weren't missing.''

Leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar also had two hits after going hitless in nine at-bats over the past two games and 1 for 14 in the previous four at home.

Moustakas is batting .455 in eight games this season against the Indians (25-27), who lost for the fourth time in 15 games.

Kansas City managed three runs and six hits over six innings off Trevor Bauer (4-2, 2.97 ERA) while he didn't factor in the decision of Cleveland's 11-5 home loss April 28. The right-hander, however, is 2-1 with an 0.99 ERA in four road starts.

Despite giving up a two-run homer to Seth Smith in the sixth of the seven innings he lasted during Friday's 2-1 loss at Seattle, Bauer is 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in his last four overall.

''I think on a lot of nights, you know, we're sitting here saying, 'He gave us seven really good innings' and, you know, patting him on the back,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''You don't want to lose sight of that."

Escobar is 4 for 8 against Bauer, who will be opposed by Chris Young (4-1, 1.55).

The right-hander allowed one earned run and 13 hits over 22 2-3 innings to go 3-0 in his first four starts before yielding four on two homers and five other hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday.

Young, who turned 36 last week, makes his first start against the Indians this season after he allowed one hit over 3 1-3 scoreless innings of two relief appearances in April and May.

Michael Bourn, who had three hits Wednesday, is 5 for 10 with two doubles versus Young while Jason Kipnis is 3 for 6 with a home run and two doubles against him.

After leading the majors with 51 hits and a .429 average in May, Kipnis is 1 for 8 this month.

Batting .302 with a team-leading 31 RBIs, Cleveland's Michael Brantley will be in the lineup after he was rested Wednesday.

''He really wanted to play but I thought it'd be good for him,'' Francona said. ''He's a little beat up.''

It's uncertain if Royals catcher Salvador Perez will play after sitting Wednesday, one night removed from taking a ball to the helmet. He's 2 for 20 with nine strikeouts in his last six games, and 1 for 10 with five versus Bauer.

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