Former first-round draft pick Daniel Bard makes the fifth start of his career tonight, when the Boston Red Sox visit Kauffman Stadium for the second of three games with the host Kansas City Royals.
Bard debuted with Boston in 2009 with 49 relief appearances and went on to pitch in 73 games in 2010 and 70 more in 2011 - all out of the bullpen - while posting a 5-13 mark with five saves and 15 blown saves in 197 innings.
He dropped his initial two starts in 2012 against Toronto and Tampa Bay, then got a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins after tossing two-thirds of an inning on April 23 at Target Field.
Two subsequent starts have yielded a win and a loss, while he gave up 14 hits and six earned runs in 12 1/3 innings against Chicago and Oakland.
Bard is 0-2 in nine career relief outings against Kansas City.
For the Royals, lefty Danny Duffy starts for the fifth time this season and the third time in his career against Boston.
The 23-year-old lost his lone decision in the two previous outings while allowing 11 hits and posting a 7.45 earned run average in 9 2/3 innings.
He opened 2012 with six one-hit innings in a 3-0 win at Oakland on April 10, then pitched 5 1/3 frames in beating the New York Yankees on May 3.
The two starts in between were both losses - against Detroit and Toronto - with seven runs and 12 hits allowed in 11 1/3 innings.
On Monday, Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run and a two-run home run as Boston pounded Kansas City, 11-5.
Dustin Pedroia added a two-run homer and David Ortiz belted a solo shot and scored three runs for the Red Sox, who snapped a five-game skid. Felix Doubront (2-1) gave up five runs - four earned - on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
"It's been awesome. It's hard to explain," said Middlebrooks, who is hitting .381 with three homers and nine RBI since making his debut on May 2. "I was just trying to carry over what I started in Pawtucket earlier this year. It has translated pretty well."
Alex Gordon had two hits and an RBI, while Jarrod Dyson added three hits and scored a run for the Royals, who have lost their past two. Jonathan Sanchez (1-2) didn't make it out of the fourth inning as he was tagged for six runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
"The starting pitching sets the tone," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "Sanchez again really struggled to command his fastball. His secondary stuff was decent enough, but just struggled to command his fastball."
The Red Sox have won eight of their past 11 versus the Royals.