Orioles-Royals Preview

Another strong series from Alex Gordon helped the Kansas City

Royals sweep a division rival over the weekend.

Facing the Baltimore Orioles could help Gordon stay hot at the

plate.

Gordon and the Royals seek their fifth straight home win Tuesday

night when they open a three-game series against the Orioles.

Kansas City (15-13) returned home from a winless six-game trip

and swept Minnesota in three games over the weekend, finishing the

series with a 10-3 win Sunday to improve to 12-5 at Kauffman

Stadium.

The Royals outscored the Twins 25-8 and recorded at least 10

hits in all three games.

Gordon, who went hitless in the final two games of the trip

following a 19-game hitting streak, bounced back with five hits

over the weekend, including four for extra bases. He’s batting .388

at Kauffman Stadium, where he has 16 of his 20 RBIs and 15 of his

17 extra-base hits.

“Obviously we’re playing very well at home,” first baseman Billy

Butler told the Royals’ official website. “It’s good to see, it’s

good for the fans. We had a rough road trip and we had to break out

of it, and we’re doing well now.”

Gordon will try to keep things going against the Orioles. He’s

riding a 15-game hitting streak versus Baltimore, during which he’s

hit .311.

Even with all the home success, Kansas City may have trouble if

probable starter Jeff Francis (0-3, 5.03 ERA) can’t break out of

his slump.

After a four-inning outing at Texas in his previous start,

Francis lasted only three innings at Cleveland on Wednesday, giving

up six runs and a season-high 10 hits in a 7-2 defeat.

The left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against the

Orioles. He hasn’t faced them since 2007, while with Colorado.

The Orioles (13-14) have won five of seven, but had a three-game

winning streak snapped Monday with a 6-2 loss to the Chicago White

Sox in the finale of a four-game series.

Baltimore, which scored 22 runs in the first three games against

the White Sox, went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position

Monday.

“We had more hits than they did but we were unable to get a hit

with a runner in scoring position. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes

that’s how the game goes,” said Adam Jones, who had three

hits.

Baltimore will try to bounce back when it hands the ball to Brad

Bergesen (0-3, 4.76).

The Orioles have lost all four of Bergesen’s starts in 2011, but

the right-hander is coming off his best outing. He allowed two runs

in six innings of Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Boston.

Bergesen is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in three starts against the

Royals. Gordon is 2 for 4 against him.

Kansas City held a 4-2 edge in last season’s series.