MLB

Tigers-Royals Preview

While Johnny Cueto's plan is to keep his focus on what he can control, Matt Boyd hopes to stick to the strategy that helped him to outpitch the ace last week.

As Cueto seeks an elusive victory in his Royals debut at Kauffman Stadium, AL-best Kansas City tries for a sixth consecutive home win Monday night against the Detroit Tigers.

Cueto (0-1, 3.46 ERA) allowed three runs over six innings in a 7-6, 11-inning loss at Toronto on July 31 in his first start after Kansas City (66-44) acquired him from Cincinnati. Although he pitched better Wednesday, the right-hander suffered the tough-luck defeat after giving up two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 road loss to the Tigers (54-57).

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"I'm not frustrated at all," Cueto told MLB's official website through a team interpreter. "I just need to keep doing my job, and the club will take care of the rest."

The 2014 20-game winner hopes to break through in his third career start at Kauffman. He went 0-2 with a 2.08 ERA in two outings there as a Red, with an appearance there in May.

Detroit's Anthony Gose and Ian Kinsler both tripled off Cueto last week, and they're a combined 4 for 13 lifetime against him. J.D. and Victor Martinez, however, are 1 for 16 in the matchup.

After going 0-2 with a 14.85 ERA in two starts with Toronto, Boyd (1-2, 7.90) shined in his Detroit debut after he was acquired in the David Price trade. He yielded one run over seven innings Wednesday to earn his first career victory.

"We went into the game with a game plan where we wanted to throw guys, and he executed it," catcher James McCann said. "He's got a fastball that rides a little bit. He's got good (velocity) from the left side. We were able to live in the top of the zone and get outs that way."

Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales had the most success with two hits apiece off Boyd. Lorenzo Cain went 0 for 3 but ranks among AL leaders with a .357 average off lefties.

Morales hit a two-run home run in a three-run first inning Sunday when the Royals widened their AL Central lead to 11 1/2 games with a 5-4 home win over the Chicago White Sox. With second-place Minnesota off Monday, Kansas City has a chance to take its first 12-game division lead since Aug. 6, 1976.

The Royals have been at their best at Kauffman, going 14-3 there since July 5. They've hit .315 with runners in scoring position while averaging 5.4 runs over their last 16 home games.

Cain, who got a routine day off Sunday, is hitting .368 in his past 20 home games, however, he is 1 for 17 over his last four meetings with the Tigers.

Detroit hopes to avoid its 10th loss in 14 road games as it opens a challenging eight-game trip against playoff contenders Kansas City, Houston and the Chicago Cubs.

Kinsler had two of the team's four hits in Sunday's 7-2 home loss to Boston. Kinsler has been a bright spot for the fading Tigers, batting .537 over his last 10 games.

Detroit has split 10 meetings with Kansas City this season after taking two of three at Comerica Park last week. The Royals are 30-18 versus the AL Central, while the Tigers are 29-18.