MLB

Royals, Indians meet for second weekend in a row

Kansas City Royals left-hander Jason Vargas and Cleveland Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin both wouldn't mind a repeat of their last outings when they face off Friday in the opener of a three-game series in Kansas City.

Vargas (6-3, 2.39 ERA) limited the Indians to two runs in 5 2/3 innings Saturday during a 5-2 win at Cleveland. Tomlin (3-6, 5.79 ERA) was even better the next day, going the distance on a six-hitter in the Indians' 10-1 win over the Royals.

The Saturday start marked only the third time in 10 outings this year that Vargas didn't last at least six innings. His 2.39 ERA ranks fourth in the American League, and his 1.13 WHIP ranks ninth.

Vargas managed to survive nine hits and two walks while beating the Indians last weekend.

"Vargas grinded through it," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He made pitches when he needed to and did a good job of maneuvering through the game without his best stuff."

On Sunday, Tomlin threw just the fifth complete game of his eight-year major league career. He struck out three without issuing a walk.

"Getting a complete game means you did your job," Tomlin said. "It's a good feeling knowing you did your part to help your team get a win."

Indians manager Terry Francona added, "He was crisp. He didn't walk anyone. You've got to get hits to beat him. He really took the sting out of their bats."

Tomlin improved on his strong career numbers vs. Kansas City. He is 10-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 23 career games (19 starts) against the Royals. He hasn't beaten any other major league team more than five times.

He is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA vs. the Royals this year.

"Tomlin is always good against us," Yost said. "He very seldom makes mistakes. He works the corners and changes speeds well."

Vargas owns a 7-3 record with a 4.25 ERA in 15 career starts against Cleveland. The only team he has defeated more often than the Indians is the Oakland A's, against whom he is 8-7 with a 3.03 ERA in 21 games (19 starts).

In two starts against Cleveland this year, Vargas is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

The Indians arrive in Kansas City after winning three of four over the visiting A's, capped by an 8-0 victory Thursday.

Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion figures to return to action Friday after getting a day off. He is batting .368 (14-for-38) with three homers and six RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.

The Royals began their homestand by dropping two of three to the Tigers, with Detroit taking the series thanks to a 6-5 decision Wednesday.

Kansas City second baseman Whit Merrifield is riding a career-best 16-game hitting streak. He is batting .400 (22-for-55) with three homers and six RBIs during the streak.