(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians will play the rubber match of their American League Central battle on Sunday at Progressive Field.
After Kansas City rolled to a 7-1 victory on Friday night, the Indians returned the favor with a 7-3 triumph on Saturday. Cleveland is now three games back of the Royals for second place in the division.
T.J. House collected his first big league win on Saturday, tossing 6 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on nine hits.
Michael Bourn hit his third home run of the season in the contest and Michael Brantley (3-for-5), Carlos Santana (2-for-5), Jason Kipnis (2-for-4) and Lonnie Chisenhall (2-for-3) all had multi-hit games.
Cleveland has won three of its last four and is searching for consecutive series wins for the first time since winning three straight against Colorado, Boston and Texas at the beginning of June.
Jeremy Guthrie was stung with the loss for Kansas City on Saturday. The veteran right-hander allowed six runs on 11 hits over just four innings of work.
Danny Valencia went 3-for-4 with a home run, but the Royals went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, Cleveland went 4-for-10 in similar situations.
Danny Duffy will continue to keep hold of a permanent spot in the Royals' rotation when he toes the rubber on Sunday.
The 25-year-old left-hander started the season out of the bullpen, making six relief appearances in April, before getting his first start on May 3. Duffy has been a fixture in the rotation since, making 11 total starts and going 4-6 with a 2.66 ERA in those appearances. Including his relief appearances he is 5-7 with a 2.60 ERA on the campaign.
Duffy let up just one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings of work against Minnesota the last time he stepped on the mound. The start marked the fourth- straight appearance in which he has allowed two or fewer runs.
This will be Duffy's first start against the Indians this season, although he did pitch two scoreless innings of relief against them on April 22. He is 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA in three career outings against Cleveland.
Corey Kluber gets the start for the Indians.
Kluber, a 28-year-old right-hander who first pitched in the majors in 2011, is in the midst of a breakout season. His record may not be overly impressive (7-6), but he has an ERA of 2.99, which is more than a run better than any other Cleveland starter. Kluber is also striking out 9.7 batters per nine inning and his 127 punchouts at this point are just nine short of the career- high he set a season ago.
In his most recent start, Kluber was stellar yet again as he allowed just a single run over 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers. Unfortunately, he got zero support from his offense as the Indians fell 1-0. Kluber has now lost three of his last four decisions, despite giving up three runs or less in each of his last five starts.
Kluber had perhaps his best start of the season earlier this year against Kansas City, when he struck out 11 batters in first career shutout. In seven total contests against the Royals, Kluber is 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA.
These two teams have now split eight total meetings between them this season.