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Royals-Orioles Preview


Royals-Orioles Preview
The Kansas City Royals' quest to get out of last place hit a snag in their final two games of interleague play against their intrastate rivals.

Still, the Royals will be looking to win six straight road games for the first time in more than nine years on Monday when they begin an eight-game trip by facing the Baltimore Orioles.

Kansas City (37-45) had won six in a row and 11 of 12 after beating St. Louis 7-2 on Friday, but the Royals will now be scrambling to avoid their first three-game losing streak since they were swept by the Chicago White Sox from June 3-5. They enter this series tied with Cleveland in the AL Central basement, where they have spent every day since May 24 - with the only exception being after Wednesday's games ended.

A day after losing 5-1 to the Cardinals, Kansas City fell 9-6 on Sunday to close its nine-game homestand 6-3. But the Royals won the last five games of their most recent road trip, and will be seeking their first six-game winning streak away from Kauffman Stadium since May 1999 against Minnesota and Seattle.

The Royals finished interleague play at 13-5, but they haven't had as much success against their own league recently. They've lost 19 of their last 24 against AL opponents, including a 12-game losing streak in May.

They also lost three of four at home to Baltimore from May 8-11, finally ending a 12-game losing streak to the Orioles with a 4-0 victory in the series finale. They've still lost their last seven at Camden Yards, where they'll play four games this week.

"I hurt as badly losing that many games in a row to the Baltimore Orioles as if I had been here for all of them," Royals first-year manager Trey Hillman said after that series. "I want to turn the pride factor up for this organization as high it can possibly be turned up. It's irrelevant that it wasn't exactly the same group of guys, or the same staff or the same manager. Losing that many games in a row to anybody is embarrassing."

The Orioles (41-39) have had trouble stringing together victories against anyone recently, alternating wins and losses in their last seven games of a nine-game road trip.

They took a 2-1 lead in the 12th inning at Washington on Sunday, but lost 3-2 in the bottom half when closer George Sherrill allowed a walk-off home run to Ronnie Belliard.

Brian Burres will likely be on the mound to help them try to rebound Monday. The left-hander was scratched from a scheduled start Wednesday, but he made a relief appearance Thursday and seemed to be ready to start.

Burres (6-5, 5.29 ERA) pitched one inning against the Chicago Cubs, giving up three hits and a run. He has won his last two starts, but has a 10.22 ERA in his last six outings, allowing at least three runs in each of the five starts.

He also lost to Kansas City on May 11, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 4-0 defeat.

Zack Greinke (7-4, 3.40) will look to win his third straight start for Kansas City. After allowing three runs in six innings of a 7-3 win over Colorado on Tuesday, he's 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three starts with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings.

Greinke hasn't started against the Orioles since 2004, when he faced them twice, going 0-2 with an 11.88 ERA.

David DeJesus could be out of the lineup for Kansas City on Monday after leaving Sunday's game with a bruise in his rib cage he sustained on a collision at home plate.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2008

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