KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While the Kansas City Royals have won their seven previous series, they will need a victory Wednesday over the New York Yankees to make it eight straight.
The Yankees topped the Royals 5-4 in 10 innings Tuesday night as the two teams have split the first two games of the series. Not only did the game go an extra inning, there was a 59-minute rain delay after the fifth.
The Royals had Raul Mondesi and Jarrod Dyson, their two fastest runners, in scoring position with none out in the 10th but failed to score.
Will it be difficult for the Royals to shake off such a defeat?
"What these guys did they fought to the bitter end," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was a game we were down 4-to-nothing, battled back, tied the ball game under horrible conditions. It just wouldn't stop raining from the fifth inning on. We had the go-around run on second base. We just couldn't get it in.
"That's a game, where you battle your tail off. You end up don't winning, so OK. You come back tomorrow and find a way to win. It's as simple as that."
The Royals and Yankees had a fierce rivalry from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. They met four times in the postseason with the Royals winning only once, 1980. With both teams competing for a postseason berth this season, that rivalry has been rekindled.
"I think it's always exciting," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You're talking about the team that won the World Series last year. It goes back years ago, with George Brett and all those guys. I think it is fun."
Yankees rookie right-hander Luis Cessa will make his third start in the series finale Wednesday. Cessa became the second Yankees pitcher since 2004 to win each of his first two career starts, joining Shane Greene, who won on July 7 and July 12, 2014. Cessa has defeated the Angels and Orioles in his first two starts.
Cessa, who will be making his 11th career appearance, is 4-0 with a 4.11 ERA. A dozen of the 15 runs he has allowed have scored on seven home runs -- four with the bases empty and a trio of three-run shots -- in 30 2/3 innings.
This is Cessa's fourth stint with the Yankees as he was recalled Aug. 11. He made the Opening Day roster as a reliever and made his major league debut on April 8, allowing a run in two innings at Detroit. He went 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA in ERA in 15 games, 14 of them starts, with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy will start for the Royals. Kennedy is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA in August, allowing four earned runs in 32 1/3 innings. Kennedy has allowed two runs or less in his past six starts.
Kennedy was a Yankees 2006 first-round draft pick and made his major league debut with them in 2007 before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2009 season. He is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career appearances against the Yankees. He lost 7-3 on May 12 at Yankee Stadium.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who had four hits and drove in the winning run in the 10th inning Tuesday, is a career .355, 65-for-183, against the Royals.