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Surprising Kansas City Royals Invade Yankee Stadium

Melky Cabrera #53 of the Kansas City Royals (credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Melky Cabrera #53 of the Kansas City Royals (credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – The Royals are off to a solid start to the season, but that’s due mostly to their major league-high 15 home victories. Improving their major league-worst road record might prove difficult in a matchup with the Yankees.

The Royals look to reverse their fortunes away from Kansas City – and in the Bronx – when they open a three-game series against New York on Tuesday night.

Despite alternating losses and wins in its last five games, Kansas City (18-16) went 6-3 on its just-completed homestand to improve to 15-8 at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals, though, have had no success in carrying that level of play to the road this season.

Kansas City went 0-6 on a trip through Texas and Cleveland prior to the homestand to drop to 3-8 on the road. The Royals have a 3.51 ERA at home, compared to 5.95 away from Kauffman.

“We had a bad road trip last time,” manager Ned Yost told the team’s official website. “That doesn’t mean we’re a bad road team. It just means we had a bad trip. You have bad homestands, you have bad weeks. You have bad series. It’s our time to go on the road and we look forward to it.”

Trips to Yankee Stadium haven’t yielded positive results for the Royals. Kansas City went 1-3 there last season – getting outscored 33-18 – and has lost seven of the last nine road matchups in the series. It is 74-146 in the Bronx all-time.

The Royals fell 5-2 to Oakland on Sunday, and have scored two runs in each of their last three defeats.

The Yankees (19-13) should be happy to be home after a 3-4 road swing. New York did manage to close out the trip on a high note, beating Texas 12-5 on Sunday to take two of three after dropping three of four in Detroit.

The club got an encouraging performance from Derek Jeter, who went 4 for 6 and hit his first two home runs of the season to raise his average from .256 to .276.

“Everybody needs a day like this, regardless if you’re swinging well or you’re not swinging well,” Jeter said. “I just want to be comfortable. … It’s pretty difficult to hit when you’re sitting around trying to think of too many things, and I found myself thinking of things early on.”

Curtis Granderson hit his 11th home run – one of five by the Yankees on Sunday – and has gone 5 for 10 with five RBIs in his last three games. He may have a good chance to continue his hot streak with Kyle Davies (1-4, 7.32 ERA) on the mound, as Granderson is 7 for 21 with two home runs against the right-hander.

Davies’ performance on the road mirrors that of his team, as he’s 1-3 with a 10.00 ERA in four away starts. He has gone 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA in his last three overall outings.

He pitched well in his last start Wednesday, allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Baltimore. Davies had given up four home runs in his previous outing, an 8-2 loss to Cleveland on April 28.

Davies has won his last two starts at Yankee Stadium, allowing four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-4 victory July 24 in the most recent one. He has a 3.75 ERA in three total road matchups with New York and is 3-0 overall against the Yankees despite a 5.85 ERA in four career starts.

Slumping Royals first baseman Billy Butler is expected to be back in the lineup after being given the day off Sunday. He was hitting .368 on April 18, but has batted .226 in 17 games since.

He may be in good position to break out of his funk Tuesday, as he is 5 for 11 against scheduled starter Freddy Garcia (1-2, 2.88).

The right-hander has not been at his best in his last two starts, allowing seven total runs after giving up none in his first two. Garcia, who gave up season highs of four runs and 10 hits in seven innings of a 4-0 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday, has gone 1-7 with a 6.71 ERA in his last nine starts against Kansas City.

NOTES:
The Yankees won the season series between these clubs in 2010, 5-3. The Royals have lost seven of their last nine road games against the Yankees… Kansas City has won six of its last nine games after losing each of its previous six contests… The Yankees have won two of their last three games after dropping each of their previous three contests. The Yankees have not lost a home series this season (5-0-1)… Kyle Davies is 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA and has allowed five home runs in his last three starts. However, Davies has won each of his last three starts against the Yankees… Freddy Garcia, who has dropped each of his last two starts overall, has 13 losses in his career against the Royals — the most losses in his career against any opponent… Alex Rodriguez is hitting just .111 (3-for-27) in his last seven home games. Rodriguez hit .400 with three doubles, four homers and 14 RBI in eight games against the Royals last season.

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