(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals will try to shake off just their fourth loss of the month on Friday evening as they kick off a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
The Royals split a two-game set in Colorado, dropping Wednesday's second game by a 5-2 margin. It was only Kansas City's third loss in 17 games as it has surged to the top of the American League Central.
However, the Royals will try to avoid a tailspin after a tough loss versus the Rockies. Kansas City was leading 2-1 and starter Danny Duffy had recorded the first two outs of the sixth inning before the frame was extended thanks to a throwing error by third baseman Christian Colon.
Duffy then gave up a single and a walk to load the bases before Colorado's Matt McBride connected on a grand slam that led to a 5-2 loss for the Kansas City.
"I should have made the play," Colon, who was appearing in just his third major league game at third, told the Royals' website. "It's just one of those things that you wish you could take back ... It's on me right there. That play needs to be made with two outs."
The setback snapped the Royals' three-game win streak and they lead the Detroit Tigers by 1 1/2 games for first place in the division.
Losses have been rare as of late for Kansas City and that also holds true for tonight's starter, Yordano Ventura.
Ventura has yielded three earned runs or fewer in six straight outings, but lost for the first time in that span on Saturday versus Minnesota. The righty saw a two-decision win streak snapped and the Royals lost for the first time in his last six outings.
Despite a high number of walks, Ventura did not allow a hit versus the Twins until the fifth inning and all three runs he ended up allowing came in the sixth frame, when he was lifted after two outs. He was charged with four hits and six walks over his outing, falling to 9-9 with a 3.48 earned run average on the season.
The 23-year-old is set to face the Rangers for the first time and will be opposed by 35-year-old Colby Lewis.
Lewis is 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA this season and struck out a career-high 10 batters on Saturday versus the Los Angeles Angels, but still took the loss for allowing five runs on 10 hits. Lewis did not walk a batter, but served up two home runs.
"I think early, I left a couple balls in the middle," said Lewis. "Other than that, I felt like I had really, really good stuff tonight."
The righty is 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA in five previous meetings with the Royals, all but one of those starts.
Texas split a two-game set with Miami coming in, winning Wednesday's finale 5-4. Alex Rios had a pair of hits and two RBI, while Leonys Martin notched three hits and drove in a run as the Rangers moved to just 6-12 in August.
Nick Martinez started for the Rangers and picked up the win in his hometown, surrendering just two runs on six hits in six innings. With his family in the stands, the right-hander struck out seven and walked two to win for the second time in three decisions.
"Just a great day for everyone," said Martinez. "Everyone came out swinging. (Catcher Geovany Soto) called a great game."
The Rangers and Royals split six meetings last season.