Series: Game 1 of 4

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 8/11)

Game 1: Monday, August 11
Kansas City3
Game 2: Tuesday, August 12
Kansas City3
Game 3: Wednesday, August 13
Kansas City3
Game 4: Thursday, August 14
Kansas City7

Athletics 2

(72-46, 32-25 away)

Royals 3

(64-53, 31-27 home)

    8:10 PM ET, August 11, 2014

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 002000000 2 3 1
    KC 11000010 - 3 6 0

    W: K. Herrera (3-2)

    L: S. Gray (12-6)

    S: G. Holland (35)

    Athletics-Royals Preview


    Another extended winning streak has the Kansas City Royals in position to possibly hold the AL Central lead this late in a season for the first time in 11 years.

    The Royals might have the chance to do so with an eighth consecutive victory Monday night against the major league-leading Oakland Athletics.

    Kansas City's 7-4 win over San Francisco, coupled with the Detroit's 6-5, 19-inning loss at Toronto on Sunday left the Royals (63-53) one-half game behind the first-place Tigers.

    Eight games out of first July 21, Kansas City has since won 15 of 18. Winners of 10 straight in June, the Royals have recorded two winning streaks of seven or more in a season for the first time since 1985 -- the last year they made the playoffs.

    Detroit, meanwhile, has dropped 11 of 19.

    A Royals victory Monday and a Detroit loss at Pittsburgh would leave them atop the division this late for the first time since August 29, 2003.

    "I like the way we're playing," Kansas City manager Ned Yost told MLB's official website. "I've got a lot of confidence in those guys.

    "I've had a lot of confidence in them even when they weren't producing like they're doing now because I knew it would come somewhere down the road.

    Kansas City began the month by taking two of three at Oakland (72-45).

    In the opener, Oakland's Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.87 ERA) allowed a homer to Raul Ibanez and two other hits while striking out seven in seven innings of a 1-0 loss Aug. 1.

    "He's got good stuff and I didn't feel like waiting around too long," Ibanez said after that contest.

    That outing was the last of a stellar stretch where the right-hander allowed five earned runs over 42 innings to go 5-1 before he gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 7-3 defeat to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

    "He's able to wiggle out of some jams, which he typically does. (On Wednesday it), just wasn't the case," manager Bob Melvin said. "We just probably haven't seen a game out of him like this."

    Alex Gordon went 0 for 3 against Gray this month, but is batting .357 with three homers and six RBIs in eight games since. Gordon and Salvador Perez each hit two-run homers Sunday as the Royals won their fifth straight at home.

    "Gordy is swinging the bat well because he is seeing the ball well and putting good swings on it," Yost said.

    Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.47) has allowed three earned runs over 13 innings to win his last two starts. He gave up two and struck out eight in six innings of a 4-3 victory at Arizona on Wednesday.

    Facing Oakland for the first time, the right-hander returns home where he is 3-2 with a 2.65 ERA in his last six starts.

    The A's scored 18 runs while winning the first three at home against Minnesota, then fell 6-1 in the finale of the four-game set Sunday.

    Stephen Vogt, who had the lone RBI, went 5 for 14 with two home runs and five RBIs against the Twins after going 0 for 21 in his previous six games. That included an 0-for-11 series against the Royals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     OaklandKansas City
    Current StreakW1W1
    Last 105-56-4

    Pitching Matchup

    OaklandKansas City
    S. Gray
    14-10, 3.08 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at TEX
    9.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win
    Y. Ventura
    14-10, 3.20 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at CHW
    4.0 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.OaklandKansas City
    1. C. Crisp, CF J. Dyson, CF
    2. J. Reddick, RF O. Infante, 2B
    3. J. Donaldson, 3B S. Perez, C
    4. B. Moss, LF B. Butler, 1B
    5. D. Norris, C A. Gordon, LF
    6. S. Vogt, 1B L. Cain, RF
    7. J. Lowrie, SS R. Ibanez, DH
    8. J. Jaso, DH M. Moustakas, 3B
    9. E. Sogard, 2B A. Escobar, SS

    Research Notes

    Sonny Gray has limited hitters to an .011 ISO in at-bats to end in a curveball, which is the lowest rate in MLB among pitchers to end at least 50 at-bats with the pitch. The Kansas City Royals have a team ISO of .065 in at-bats to end in a curveball, which is fourth lowest in the league.
    Yordano Ventura has thrown 325 fastballs at 95 mph or faster this season, which is the fourth most among qualified starters in MLB. However, opposing hitters have a .748 OPS against Ventura's fastball when he throws it at least 95 mph, which is 80 points higher than the league average among qualified starters against such pitches. The Oakland Athletics have a .781 team OPS against fastballs thrown at least 95 mph, which is second in MLB.

    ESPN Stats & Information