Royals visit Indians in pursuit of seventh straight win

CLEVELAND — The Kansas City Royals carry a season-high six-game winning streak into Tuesday’s night’s matchup with the Indians at Progressive Field in the second game of a three-game series.

The Royals won the first game 5-1 on Monday as Ryan O’Hearn homered twice and Jorge Bonifacio and Hunter Dozier went deep once each. The Indians have lost three in a row.

Danny Duffy (8-11, 4.72 ERA) will start for Kansas City against a team that has given him trouble over the years.

In 18 career appearances (14 starts) against Cleveland, Duffy is 2-9 with a 5.38 ERA. The only team that has hung more losses on Duffy than Cleveland is Detroit (10).

In three starts against the Indians this year, Duffy is 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA. His last start against Cleveland came July 3, a 6-4 loss in which he pitched six innings, giving up six runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

The left-hander won his last start, a 9-2 decision over the Tigers on Aug. 29. In that game, he pitched six innings, allowing one run and two hits with six strikeouts and three walks. In four starts in August, Duffy was 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA.

Duffy will face right-hander Mike Clevinger (10-7, 3.17), an unsung member of a Cleveland starting rotation whose 3.40 ERA ranks second in the AL, trailing only Houston (3.20).

Clevinger ranks seventh in the league in innings pitched (170 1/3) and eighth in ERA. He hasn’t lost since July 28. In six starts since then, he is 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA.

Clevinger’s last start was a 5-3 win over Minnesota on Aug. 30, when he pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up no earned runs and four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.

The last time Clevinger faced the Royals was Aug. 24, a 5-4 Indians loss that was not charged to Clevinger. In that game, he pitched six innings, allowing three runs and four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. In eight career appearances (seven starts) against Kansas City, Clevinger is 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA.

Clevinger will be backed by a bullpen that improved June 2 with addition of veteran Oliver Perez, who was signed by the Indians after being released by the New York Yankees.

The 37-year-old left-hander has pitched for eight major league teams in his 16-year career, and since joining the Indians he has been one of the top relievers in the American League.

In 40 appearances with the Indians, Perez has a 1.08 ERA while averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings and holding opposing batters to a .120 batting average.

Perez’s 1.08 ERA is the second lowest among AL relievers, and it’s the lowest ever by an Indians reliever with a minimum of 40 appearances.

“He’s been terrific,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s held his stuff so well. We’ve allowed him to face right-handed hitters, and he’s been great. It doesn’t matter what inning we bring him in. We use him when it makes the most sense. When he’s in the game, there’s a lot of importance going on.”

The Indians on Monday placed third baseman Josh Donaldson on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left calf. Donaldson was acquired in a trade with Toronto on Aug. 31.