Royals-Angels preview: Guthrie looks to extend franchise-record streak

ANAHEIM (AP) — Looking to string a pair of wins together to open their West Coast road trip, the Kansas City Royals have to be feeling good about their chances with the seemingly unbeatable Jeremy Guthrie on the mound.

Guthrie will try to extend his franchise-record streak of consecutive starts without a loss Tuesday night against a Los Angeles Angels team that has been in a rut offensively.

Kansas City (19-16) had dropped three in a row and six of seven before opening its nine-game trip with an 11-4 victory in Anaheim on Monday.

Billy Butler broke out of a 4-for-35 slump with the second five-hit game of his career and five RBIs as the Royals reached a double-digit run total for the first time since April 5.

“I knew I had been getting closer, but it’s just one game,” said Butler, who is 6 for 13 with two homers lifetime against Tuesday’s scheduled starter Jason Vargas. “You’ve got to come out and do it consistently. Hopefully I’m on that upward streak now.”

The Royals should have a decent chance to win back-to-back contests for the first time since a four-game run April 30-May 5, having won four straight Guthrie (5-0, 2.28 ERA) starts and six of his seven outings overall.

Guthrie also hopes to continue his historic stretch, going 10-0 with a 2.21 ERA during a franchise-record 18 straight starts without a loss since Aug. 8.

The right-hander gave up a run for the first time in three starts Thursday when he allowed one over six innings in a 6-2 victory at Baltimore.

“I executed a few pitches, made a couple mistakes,” said Guthrie, who is 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA in his last three outings.

Guthrie has made few mistakes against the Angels with a 2-1 record and 2.37 ERA in his last four starts. He has posted those same numbers in four career outings in Anaheim, though he makes his first start there since 2010.

After being one-hit by Chicago’s Chris Sale in a 1-0 loss Sunday, the Angels’ offensive woes continued in Monday’s loss. They managed just three runs and six hits against Luis Mendoza, who entered the contest with a 6.38 ERA.

Los Angeles (14-24), which has lost six of eight home games, has totaled seven runs while hitting .177 with six extra-base hits over its last three contests overall.

Albert Pujols went 1 for 4 in the opener and is hitting .171 since April 21. After batting .161 over his previous 14 games, Josh Hamilton went 2 for 3 Monday and is 7 for 23 with two homers lifetime against Guthrie.

Hamilton, though, is uncertain for Tuesday after leaving in the seventh inning because he was “a little lightheaded,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

Shortstop Erick Aybar (hamstring), who is batting .393 in his last 37 games versus Kansas City, is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday.

Vargas (1-3, 4.26) had allowed two runs over 17 innings in back-to-back complete games, but gave up five and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings before leaving without a decision in the Angels’ 6-5 comeback win at Houston on Thursday.

The left-hander has fared well against the Royals, going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts while with Seattle.

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is hitting .394 with three homers over his last eight games, but is 1 for 8 lifetime off Vargas.