As rumors of the club's acquisition of a much-needed ace became a reality, the Kansas City Royals broke out of their recent offensive slump in unlikely fashion.
After making a big move by adding Johnny Cueto, the AL-best Royals seek their 15th win in 20 games in the opener of a 10-game trip against the slumping Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
Seeking its first division title in 30 years, Kansas City (59-38) solidified its rotation by picking up one of the top starters on the market Sunday. Cueto won 20 games en route to his first All-Star appearance last season and is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts this year.
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The Royals sent left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed to Cincinnati.
''I know they play baseball very good," Cueto said with Reds catcher Brayan Pena serving as his translator. "I'm excited because I know it's going to be good for my career and good for the team.''
Yordano Ventura was projected to be the ace this season, but the opening day starter has struggled with consistency. He was send to Triple-A Omaha for one day last week before getting recalled after the club learned Jason Vargas will need Tommy John surgery.
Ventura, though, took a positive step by holding Houston to one run in seven innings in Sunday's 5-1 win.
After totaling five runs in their previous three games, the Royals tagged All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel for 10 hits - the most he's allowed all season. Lorenzo Cain hit his 11th home run and Kendrys Morales had a season high-tying three hits.
Eric Hosmer, who entered as a defensive replacement Sunday, is expected to be in the lineup Monday after batting .484 in his previous eight games. He's 13 for 36 (.361) with three home runs against the Indians this season, while Mike Moustakas has gone 15 for 36 (.417).
Kansas City's Edinson Volquez (9-5, 3.15 ERA) has done his best to fill the stopper role of late, posting a 1.85 ERA over his last four starts. The right-hander lasted 7 2-3 innings Wednesday, allowing one run in a 5-1 home win over Pittsburgh.
Volquez, however, has gone 1-2 with an 11.48 ERA in four starts against Cleveland (45-52) dating to his time with Texas. In his only matchup since 2011, he gave up three runs and walked a season-high six over three innings while dealing with a blister in a 7-4 home win May 7.
Brandon Moss, 0 for 7 when facing Volquez, had two of the team's six hits Sunday when the Indians couldn't avert a four-game sweep in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland, which has totaled five runs in its last five home games, will try to avoid its first seven-game skid at Progressive Field since May 24-June 6, 2011.
"Nobody's held accountable and it's just not the way we're going to do business here," second baseman Jason Kipnis said after the team held a post-game meeting Sunday.
After going 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA in his first four outings, Cody Anderson (2-1, 1.91) gave up four runs and 10 hits over 2 2-3 innings of Wednesday's 7-5 win at Milwaukee. The rookie right-hander has never faced the Royals, who took two of three at Progressive Field in April.
Moss has gone 10 for 34 (.294) with four homers while Cleveland has lost five of nine in the series.