The Kansas City Royals may see a good portion of their lineup start at this season's All-Star Game, although those same bats went silent over a brief weekend series.
Now with that spark seemingly rediscovered, the AL Central leaders will look to maintain momentum against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night in the second of a four-game home-and-home series.
Kansas City (35-25) has eight players currently leading the AL All-Star vote and ranks in MLB's upper half with 4.3 runs per game and a .267 average. The Royals, however, managed only two runs and 10 hits in a two-game sweep at St. Louis on Friday and Saturday.
That effort improved quickly with three first-inning runs in an 8-5 win over Milwaukee (24-41) on Monday that opened a series which shifts to Kansas City on Wednesday.
Alex Gordon got his fifth RBI in his last four games, Salvador Perez had his fourth multi-hit game in his last five and Lorenzo Cain extended his hitting streak to six with his fifth homer of the year.
The Royals will now try to put that production behind Chris Young (5-2, 2.25 ERA), who owns Kansas City's best ERA among those with at least 50 innings pitched.
Young, who ceded only three earned runs through his first 34 2-3 innings, stumbled with 10 runs allowed in 11 inning over two starts from May 27-June 4, but the right-hander rebounded last Tuesday with 6 1-3 of one-hit ball in a 2-0 win at Minnesota.
"Fastball command was good," Young told MLB's official website. "I could locate down and I was able to elevate. For most pitchers, fastball command is paramount. The last couple starts maybe I didn't have that command. That's baseball."
He is 1-1 with a 2.49 ERA against Milwaukee and lost at Miller Park on Sept. 16, 2012.
Home field advantage has provided little reprieve for the Brewers and they've now lost three straight and 10 of 13 in Milwaukee. Their only win in 10 previous home series this year came when they took two of three against the Chicago Cubs in early May.
Matt Garza (4-7, 4.80 ERA) will take the mound for Milwaukee after notching a 2-0 record and 1.00 ERA in his last three outings, although he surrendered four unearned run over six innings of a 6-5 win over Washington on Thursday.
Most impressive lately has been Garza's command. The right-hander has not issued a walk over his last two starts - the first time he's done so in consecutive outings.
Garza limited Kansas City to one run in eight innings on Sept. 21, 2013, allowing only a home run to Eric Hosmer.
Despite Monday's defeat, the Brewers had no trouble with Kansas City's Greg Holland and could again take advantage of the closer as the series goes on. Trailing by six runs in the ninth inning, Milwaukee scored three and had four hits against Holland before Wade Davis shut the door with three quick outs.
Jonathan Lucroy went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and doubled home a run in the ninth.
"Our guys put good at-bats together against two really good pitchers," manager Craig Counsell said. "We made them work for it."