While the Kansas City Royals hope to fix a sputtering offense in time for the playoffs, the Baltimore Orioles aren't ready to give up on their postseason hopes.
As Lorenzo Cain looks to keep giving Baltimore nightmares, the Royals will try to avoid a sixth loss in seven games Friday night in their first visit to Camden Yards since the ALCS.
Kansas City (83-56) is well on its way back to the playoffs with an 11-game division lead. The club, however, has hit .189 with runners in scoring position while totaling 15 runs in its last six.
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The Royals went 0 for 8 in those situations in Wednesday's 3-2, 12-inning home loss to Minnesota. Salvador Perez is 2 for 24 over his last seven games, while Alcides Escobar has hit .161 in his past 14.
"We just have to bounce back," second baseman Ben Zobrist told MLB's official website.
Cain, batting .350 over his last 16 games, is the last hitter the Orioles want to see. The All-Star went 8 for 12 over the first three of a four-game sweep en route to MVP honors in last year's ALCS.
He then went 6 for 13 to help Kansas City take three of four from Baltimore (67-72) in late August.
The Royals have averaged 5.2 runs in winning nine of 10 matchups, including last postseason. Alex Rios went 6 for 11 against Baltimore last month, while Mike Moustakas was 8 for 14 with two homers.
The Orioles' rotation had a 6.77 ERA during a 3-15 stretch before allowing a total of four runs in back-to-back wins at Yankee Stadium.
Though it will have to pass several other teams, Baltimore isn't conceding its chances after moving within six games of the second wild-card spot on Thursday's day off when Texas lost.
''We're going to try and win out," manager Buck Showalter said. "Crazier things have happened.''
Rookie right-hander Mike Wright (2-4, 5.19 ERA) will be making his first start against the Royals and his second after missing more than a month due to a strained calf.
On just three days' rest after pitching for Triple-A Norfolk, Wright surrendered three runs and seven hits over four innings in Saturday's 5-1 loss at Toronto. He's posted a 10.67 ERA over his last four starts.
Kansas City's Danny Duffy has gone 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA over his last 12 starts. The left-hander appears to be in a battle with Kris Medlen for the fourth and final spot in the playoff rotation.
After Medlen allowed two runs over six innings Wednesday, Duffy (7-7, 4.17) will try to build on his longest outing in six starts. He gave up four runs and tied a season high with seven strikeouts over seven in Saturday's 6-1 home loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Duffy has pitched well against Baltimore, going 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts. In his only matchup this season, he yielded two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 3-2 win.
Adam Jones is 1 for 9 off him, while Chris Davis and Manny Machado are both 0 for 6. Jones, hitting .146 in his last 13 games, is expected back after missing the last two with a sore shoulder.
Davis is 11 for 23 with five home runs and 10 RBIs over a seven-game hitting streak, but he's batting .111 with 18 strikeouts in his last 11 against Kansas City.