Preview: Royals open four-game home series against Baltimore
Scott Feldman closed out the first half by recording his first win with the Baltimore Orioles. He'll try to earn another by adding to his string of respectable performances against the Kansas City Royals.
Feldman will also seek to lead the Orioles to a season-high fifth consecutive win in Monday night's series opener at Kauffman Stadium.
After getting tagged for seven runs over 5 1/3 innings in an 8-5 loss to Texas on July 8, Feldman (1-1, 5.79 ERA) yielded three in 7 1/3 innings and struck out seven in a 7-4 victory against Toronto six days later.
"I think (I had) just better command overall. I felt like I was able to locate to both sides of the plate," Feldman told the team's website.
That win is part of a 7-1 stretch for Baltimore (56-43), which matched its longest win streak of the season by completing a road sweep of Texas with a 4-2 victory Sunday.
Matt Wieters had two hits to boost his average to .438 (7 for 16) over the last four games. He also has homered, scored four runs and driven in two more during that span.
"It's big to get three games, especially on the road, and now we've got to get ready for Kansas City," he said.
Feldman, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 2, could help Baltimore to its first five-game win streak since a run of six victories Sept. 16-22. While with Texas, the right-hander was 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA in three starts last season against the Royals, his lowest ERA versus any team he faced more than once.
Kansas City (45-50) heads into this series having dropped six of eight but nearly swept AL Central-leading Detroit to open the second half. The Royals failed to get a hit with a runner in scoring position for just the second time in 19 games Sunday, going 0 for 5 in a 4-1 defeat.
"Going into the second half, we've got a number of goals. One is to get back to .500. But two is to win series," manager Ned Yost told the team's website. "If we'd have won today and swept 'em, that would've been fantastic. But the consolation prize is we won the series and our mindset from here on out is we've got to continue to focus on winning series."
Yost's club could use a better performance from Wade Davis (4-8, 5.89) if they want to get started on winning another series. The right-hander, 0-3 with an 11.77 ERA in his last three starts, matched a career high with eight runs allowed in five-plus innings in his most recent one, an 8-1 loss at Yankee Stadium on July 10.
Davis is making his first start against Baltimore since Sept. 14, 2011. He's 3-4 with a 5.55 ERA in his last eight versus the Orioles.
Major league home run leader Chris Davis, still seeking his first long ball in the second half, went deep in one of his four at-bats against the Royals starter. Wieters is 8 for 23 (.348) against Davis, while J.J. Hardy is 8 for 22 (.364).
Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain, seeking a 10-game hit streak, is 4 for 7 with a double in his career against Feldman. Alex Gordon is 6 for 15 (.400) but had two hits in nine at-bats off him in 2012.
These teams have split the last 10 meetings -- all in Baltimore. The Orioles have won two straight in Kansas City after losing seven of the previous nine there.