Blue Jays-Royals Preview

Winning a single game in Kansas City has been difficult for the

Toronto Blue Jays in recent years. Posting back-to-back victories

at Kauffman Stadium has seemed downright impossible.

The Blue Jays try to win consecutive road games in the same

season over the Royals for the first time in almost five years

Wednesday night.

Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia each hit two-run homers to help

Toronto (31-30) even the four-game set with an 8-5 win over the

Royals on Tuesday. It was the Blue Jays’ fourth victory in 12 games

at Kansas City, where they have not won two in a row in the same

season since July 8-9, 2006.

Lind is 5 for 14 (.357) with three homers and six RBIs in four

games since missing a month with a sore lower back. Arencibia,

meanwhile, has 10 home runs to rank among rookie leaders.

Looking to improve to 4-2 on a seven game trip, Toronto turns to

Carlos Villanueva (3-0, 2.72 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 4.70 ERA in

three starts since joining the rotation May 23.

The right-hander allowed two runs in a season-high 5 1-3 innings

of an 8-4 win at Baltimore on Friday to improve to 8-12 with a 4.80

ERA in 30 career starts.

“I’m a little upset that I haven’t been able to go deeper in

games,” said Villanueva, who also threw a season-high 90 pitches in

his last outing.

Though Villanueva will make his first start against the Royals,

he has a 3.38 ERA in two relief appearances versus Kansas City. The

latest came in 2007 with Milwaukee.

Kansas City (26-35) has dropped five of six and been outscored

49-31 while going 3-6 on an 11-game homestand.

Rookie Danny Duffy (0-1, 4.43) makes his fifth career start for

the Royals. The left-hander allowed three runs in five innings of a

5-2 loss to Minnesota on Friday.

Though the 22-year-old Duffy has not given up more than three

runs in any of his four starts, he’s walked 13 in those

outings.

“It’s going to take him 15-20 starts before he starts to get

comfortable, sometimes maybe sooner, maybe 10 starts for him,”

manager Ned Yost said. “His stuff is really, really good. But at

times he gets a little over-amped.”

Eric Hosmer, who had the game-winning hit in Kansas City’s 3-2,

11-inning win Monday, added two hits Tuesday. The highly-touted

rookie is batting .410 with nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting

streak.

“We keep talking about it; he’s a kid that makes adjustments,”

Yost told the Royals’ official website. “He comes in, he knows what

he needs to do and makes the adjustments to be successful.”

The Blue Jays could be without shortstop Yunel Escobar after he

left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his left quad.

“It was precautionary to get him out of (the) game,” manager

John Ferrell told the Blue Jays’ official website.

Escobar is batting .330 his last 28 games, but is 2 for 17 the

last four.