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Kansas City Royals (20-27) at Cleveland Indians (24-22)
Saturday, May 27 - 4:10 PM EST
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
The Kansas City Royals ended a long losing streak at Progressive Field with an inspiring comeback in the series opener and look to make it two in a row when they visit the Cleveland Indians on Saturday in the middle contest of the three-game set. The Royals had lost eight straight at Cleveland and trailed by four runs early Friday before recording six extra-base hits en route to a 6-4 victory.
Former Indian Brandon Moss delivered the biggest hit in the series opener with a three-run homer - his fifth blast in the last eight contests - and Whit Merrifield registered a pair of singles to extend his hitting streak to 11 games for Kansas City. Jason Vargas hopes to regain the form that allowed him to go 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA over his first seven starts for the Royals and will face Danny Salazar, who has yet to find his All-Star form from 2016, in Saturday’s contest. Cleveland has dropped three of four since a huge three-game sweep at red-hot Houston and was blanked in the final six innings Friday. Francisco Lindor takes an 11-game hitting streak into Saturday, while teammate Michael Brantley has hit safely in 10 straight for the Indians, who have split four contests with Kansas City this season after going 14-5 against the Royals in 2016.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (5-3, 2.30 ERA) vs. Indians RH Danny Salazar (3-4, 5.55)
Vargas has lost his last two starts, allowing nine runs in 10 innings combined after spinning consecutive scoreless outings - one of them against the Indians on May 6. The 34-year-old Long Beach State product has walked 11 batters in the last five games after issuing just two in his first four, while he has surrendered three of the four homers he has given up in 2017 over the past two games. Jason Kipnis is 9-for-26 with a home run versus Vargas, who is 6-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 14 starts against Cleveland.
Salazar snapped a three-game winless streak Sunday at Houston when he yielded three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-6 victory. The 27-year-old Dominican had given up five runs in each of his previous two outings and has permitted two or fewer in three of nine starts - one against Kansas City when he allowed a pair in 4 2/3 frames on May 5. Eric Hosmer is 12-for-30 with three homers against Salazar, who is 7-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 games versus the Royals.
1. Cleveland 3B Jose Ramirez was 1-for-16 in the previous four games before homering for the first time this month on Friday.
2. Kansas City OF Jorge Bonifacio has hit safely in eight of the last nine games and boasts four homers and nine RBIs in the past seven contests.
3. Cleveland OF Austin Jackson (toe) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday and struck out in his only at-bat.
PREDICTION: Indians 4, Royals 3