Royals-Indians Preview

(AP) — A series against the Kansas City Royals provided just what the Cleveland Indians needed to break out of a slow start to this season and get some momentum going for a successful road trip.

When they return home, the Indians will try again to add to the Royals’ misery.

Cleveland will seek its eighth win in 10 games Tuesday night by continuing its recent mastery of the Royals, who are coming off the worst homestand in franchise history.

The Indians (8-6) had dropped four of their first five games before facing the Royals on April 13 with the first two losses coming over a combined 28 innings. They emerged from that visit to Kansas City with three wins and eventually finished 7-2 on their first road trip of the season.

Cleveland just missed out on another series sweep Sunday, losing 5-1 to Oakland, but manager Manny Acta was pleased with his team.

“I’m very happy with the way we played on the road,” he told the team’s website. “It was a very good road trip. Winning three series, that’s something that you don’t see very often. We came out and played well after starting shaky at home, so I’m happy about that.

“Now we have to go back, enjoy the day off, get the long johns out and play ball at home.”

Acta’s club is expected to get some help for that return home after Asdrubal Cabrera’s activation from the bereavement list Monday. The shortstop was 6 for 16 with three extra-base hits during the sweep of the Royals before leaving for Venezuela following the death of his grandfather.

“I think it’s good for us that we won without one of our best players,” Acta said.

With Cabrera, the Indians will try to send the Royals to a 12th consecutive defeat for the first time since May 19-30, 2008. That losing streak, which was capped by a 5-4 home loss to Cleveland, is tied for the third longest in franchise history.

Kansas City suffered most of its defeats during an 0-10 season-opening homestand. The Royals (3-13) are the first team to lose their first 10 at home since the Chicago Cubs dropped 12 straight in 1994.

Kansas City has been outscored 69-41 during its skid and 32-18 over its last seven defeats. Eric Hosmer’s solo homer was the only run the Royals could push across during a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Monday.

“Talk to us at the end of May and see what our record is,” outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. “I still believe we’ve got plenty of talent in this room to turn it around.”

Derek Lowe (2-1, 3.50 ERA) will try to help extend the Royals’ woes with another solid outing against them. The veteran right-hander gave up three runs and scattered 11 hits over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-3 victory in Kansas City on April 13, but suffered his first loss of the season Wednesday.

Lowe allowed four runs and walked six while throwing 113 pitches through 4 1-3 innings during a 4-1 defeat in Seattle.

The Royals, 3-3 on the road, will try to end their skid with help from Jonathan Sanchez (1-0, 6.39). The left-hander, though, was tagged for five runs over 2 2-3 innings in an 11-9 home loss to Cleveland on April 14.

He gave up two runs and four hits over five innings during his most recent start Wednesday against Detroit, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on to his lead in a 4-3 defeat.