June 22, 2014

James Shields hasn't lost in almost two months, but he's hardly been dominant during that span.

The right-hander hopes to be more effective than he was in his last outing when the Kansas City Royals conclude their home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

Shields (8-3, 3.70 ERA) has gone 5-0 in nine starts since losing to Detroit on May 2, but he's posted a 5.54 ERA and allowed nine homers in his last six. He's benefited from 7.25 runs of support per game during the undefeated stretch.

Shields gave up five runs and nine hits - two homers - in seven innings of a 7-5 home loss to Seattle on Friday. That snapped Kansas City's eight-game winning streak with him on the mound.

Shields did manage to complete at least six innings for the 14th time in his 16 starts.

"He just takes his game to the next level and finds ways to get us through the seventh inning," manager Ned Yost said.

Shields, a southern California native, will make his first appearance against the Dodgers (43-36), who evened this series by snapping a three-game interleague skid with Tuesday's 2-0 victory.

Clayton Kershaw allowed six hits and struck out eight in eight innings of his follow-up to last Wednesday's no-hitter. Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez had RBIs for Los Angeles, winner of eight of 11.

Gonzalez has batted .414 (12 for 29) with seven RBIs in his last seven interleague road games, and he's .348 with a home run against Shields.

The Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez is batting .361 during a 10-game hitting streak, but he's day to day after being scratched Tuesday with soreness in his right shoulder.

"At this point, I'm not that concerned," manager Don Mattingly told MLB's official website. "He's had a little of this over the last couple of years and we've always been able to give him treatment.

"If this persists, we'll have to get testing done, but I don't see it. I don't look at it like it will be a big thing."

Los Angeles' Dan Haren (7-4, 3.62) has gone 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts at Kansas City.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA in his last three starts overall, benefiting from 17 runs of support. Five of the eight runs he's yielded in those contests have come via four homers.

Haren allowed three runs and two homers in 5 2-3 innings and was in line for a win Friday, but closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the ninth of a 6-5 loss at San Diego.

Kansas City's Eric Hosmer is 3 for 8 with a home run against Haren. He had two hits Tuesday for the Royals (40-37), who have averaged 2.2 runs while losing five of six following a 10-game winning streak during which they scored 6.9 per contest.

Omar Infante is batting .150 in six contests following a nine-game hitting streak in which he hit .378. However, he's 10 for 18 with a double against Haren.

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