Early-season ace Justin Masterson tries to snap a recent skid on Wednesday night when the Cleveland Indians host the Kansas City Royals to wrap up a three-game series at Progressive Field.
A 28-year-old native of Jamaica, Masterson was 7-2 with a 2.83 earned run average after a 6-0 defeat of the Seattle Mariners in his 10th start of the season on May 19.
He's just 1-3 in five starts since, however, and has seen his ERA swell to 3.52 in 102 1/3 innings - a season after he posted a 4.93 ERA mark in 206 1/3 innings and 34 starts.
Masterson pitched well but got a tough-luck no-decision in a June 14 against Washington, in which he allowed a run, four hits and struck out 10 in seven innings of a game the Indians won, 2-1.
In his last meeting with the Royals, Masterson was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in just four innings of a 9-0 loss in Kansas City.
He's 5-1 in eight home starts this season, but just 4-6 in 18 career meetings with the Royals.
Kansas City sends Mexican righty Luis Mendoza to the mound in search of a second consecutive victory.
The 29-year-old picked up his second win of the season in his 12th outing on June 14, when he scattered seven hits and allowed two runs in a 7-2 defeat of Tampa Bay.
He'd tossed seven scoreless innings in a no-decision against Houston five days earlier and has allowed three or fewer runs in seven straight games, in which the Royals are 3-4.
Mendoza is 3-1 in five career outings against the Indians.
On Tuesday, Cleveland used a three-run eighth inning to beat the Royals, 4-3.
With the Indians down two, Kelvin Herrera (3-5) walked Ryan Raburn to start the eighth and advanced to second on a ground out. Michael Bourn hit a single just fair down the third-base line to score Raburn.
Mike Aviles singled and Jason Kipnis connected on a double to left to tie the game. After an intentional walk, Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Aviles and put the Indians ahead.
Vinnie Pestano was able to get Eric Hosmer to ground out with the bases loaded to end the game. Two batters before that, Mike Moustakas was caught between third and home on a Alcides Escobar single that could have tied the game. Cody Allen (2-0) pitched a one-run eighth to earn the win.
Hosmer and Salvador Perez each recorded an RBI for the Royals.
The Royals and Indians split a four-game series in Kansas City between April 27 and 29, with Kansas City winning the first two and Cleveland the last two. The Royals won 10 of 18 games between the teams in 2012.