Cahill on the hill for red-hot Royals against Red Sox (Jul 29, 2017)

BY AP • July 29, 2017

BOSTON -- Trevor Cahill, who recently took the elevator from the basement up into a pennant race, makes his first start for the Kansas City Royals when he faces the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night in the second game of a three-game series.

Cahill, one of three pitchers sent from the San Diego Padres to the Royals, was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in his 11 starts for the Padres. He will face Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, pushed up a day after Friday's slated starter, David Price, was placed in the disabled list.

"He's got a really heavy sinker, a slurvy hard curveball and a real good change-up," Kansas City pitching coach Dave Eiland said after the deal was made.

The Royals have suddenly burst into contention -- winning their ninth straight on Friday night.

"So it should play really well for us," Eiland said. "It's a guy that's had a lot of success. He should fit nicely in that spot."

Cahill is 1-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox but hasn't fared well at Fenway Park, where he is 0-2 with a 7.79 ERA in three career starts.

He signed a one-year contract with the Padres for this season. He was hampered by a shoulder strain but struck out 72 in 61 innings with the lowly Padres.

"He's got good stuff," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His numbers are good up to this point. ... I remember him a couple of years back. He was always tough. We think he's going to help us out."

Cahill faces Rodriguez, 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list after his latest knee injury.

Rodriguez, who will make his 13th start of the season, is 4-3 with a 3.89 ERA. He is 1-0 with an impressive 2.38 ERA in four home starts this season, yielding three earned runs or less in each of the four outings.

Mike Moustakas, who hit his 30th home run of the season in Friday night's 4-2 victory, is 2-for-6 lifetime against Rodriguez, but both hits are home runs. Lorenzo Cain, on the other hand, is 0-for-9 against Rodriguez.

For the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia is 4-for-8 (.500), newly acquired Edwin Nunez is 4-for-13 (.308) and Mitch Moreland has two homers against Cahill. But Hanley Ramirez is just 3-for-20 (.150) against the KC pitcher, albeit with seven walks that give him a .370 on base percentage.

While the Royals are rolling, the Red Sox are not. Friday night saw them fall out of first place for the first time since June 29. They have lost five of their last six and are 6-9 since the All-Star break.

Mostly, it has been the offense.

"We have the talent in the room, we're in a bit of rut right now," said Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who fell to 4-14 with Friday night's loss, "but if we go out there and prepare the way we know how to prepare, and play hard and play aggressively, I think that will take us where we need to go."

Manager John Farrell, asked about meetings with his club, said, "We've had discussions inside of every advance meeting. We've made some adjustments in the lineup trying to get a little bit of a spark, some adjustments there. But still, it's a matter of how we continue to execute -- bottom line."

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