(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals eye a second victory in a row on Saturday evening when they resume a three-game series with the hosting Chicago Cubs.
The Royals halted a season-high four-game slide with Friday's 8-4 victory despite blowing an early three-run lead. They used early home runs to build their advantage, then responded with three runs in the eighth inning after the Cubs tied the contest in the seventh.
Lorenzo Cain had a tie-breaking RBI double in the eighth and Dexter Fowler's error in center field for the Cubs allowed another two runs to score in the frame.
Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez all homered early in the game for Kansas City, with Escobar adding an RBI single in the ninth.
"We needed to have this win today," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "We didn't want to take it to five (losses) in a row."
Addison Russell's solo homer in the seventh inning pulled the Cubs even and Jorge Soler also went deep in Chicago's fourth loss in five games. Russell scored on Kris Bryant's double in the third inning as well.
"They showed why they went to the World Series last year, and we showed we're not ready yet," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
Jason Hammel was slated to start this game for the Cubs, but a cracked fingernail on his right-hand caused Chicago to push him back to Sunday's finale. Instead, 34-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada will make his third start of the season tonight for the Cubs.
"It's nothing awful," Maddon told his club's website of Hammel. "We thought we'd buy an extra day."
Wada began the season on the disabled list due to a groin injury and has not gotten a decision over his first two starts, allowing three runs over 10 total innings. He struck out nine batters in 4 2/3 frames against San Diego in his season debut on May 20, then struck out another six over 5 1/3 frames of one- run ball on Monday versus Washington.
The left-hander has allowed a homer in each of his starts this season and will be facing the Royals for the first time.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura has picked up just one victory over his past seven outings and takes the mound tonight 3-4 on the year with a 4.64 earned run average.
Ventura earned his first win since April 12 with a 3-0 decision over Cincinnati on May 19, when he logged seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball while striking out six. However, the righty fell back into the loss column on Sunday versus St. Louis, charged with four runs on five hits and two walks over seven frames. He did strike out seven in the 6-1 defeat.
"He just missed with some pitches that could have gone either way and resulted in walks," Yost said of Ventura. "He kind of got it dialed back in a little bit ... and did a great job of limiting the damage."
The 23-year-old has struggled with consistency this season, allowing two or fewer runs four times this season but at least four runs in his five other starts. Ventura faces the Cubs for the first time.
This marks the Royals' first trip to Wrigley since 2001, and it is also the first time hitting coach Dale Sveum is back in town since he was fired as the Cubs manager following the 2013 season.