Royals hope to end slide in visit to San Diego

( - The Kansas City Royals try to put the brakes on a four- game losing streak Monday when they start a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Kansas City was swept at home for the first time all season over the weekend by the Detroit Tigers, culminating with a 9-4 setback in Sunday's finale. The Royals, who had won three in a row before this slide, didn't record a hit until the sixth inning.

Now they hit the road for seven games, starting in San Diego, where they have lost all six times they have played there.

Hoping to reverse their fortunes on Monday the Royals will turn to 22-year-old righty Yordano Ventura, who is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. Ventura did not get a decision on Wednesday against Toronto, but was impressive, as he scattered two hits over five scoreless innings in his team's 4-2 win.

Since giving up a career high-tying four runs over four-plus innings in an 8-3 home loss to Minnesota on April 20, Ventura has surrendered nine hits over 13 scoreless innings.

"My biggest focus was to go out there and throw strikes and try to keep the team close and help the team win, which is what we ended up doing," said Ventura.

San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Eric Stults, who is coming off a miserable showing his last time out. Stults was defeated by San Francisco on Tuesday and was hammered for five runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings, dropping him to 1-3 on the year to go along with a 5.34 ERA.

It was his shortest start since April 2009.

"Tonight I felt like I didn't execute many pitches down in the zone," Stults said. "I knew they were probably going to be aggressive. They usually come out swinging early."

San Diego snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday, as Yonder Alonso's dribbler to first base plated Cameron Maybin in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the Padres salvage the finale of a three-game set with a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Maybin led off the home half of the ninth with an infield single off Oliver Perez (0-1). After Will Venable struck out swinging, Rene Rivera doubled to deep right to put two in scoring position for Alonso, whose grounder to first was slow enough to score the speedy Maybin ahead of Paul Goldschmidt's throw home.

Huston Street (1-0) pitched out of a jam in the top of the ninth to earn the win.

"It's huge, you never want to get swept in a series," said Maybin. "We've been playing some really tough, close games. We continue to compete and play hard."