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American League Preview from The Sports Network

Monday, June 17th (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (33-34) at Cleveland Indians (34-34), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - James Shields (2-6, 2.79) Cleveland - Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 15.26)

(Sports Network) - Workhorse righty James Shields tries again for a first win since April 30 on Monday night when the Kansas City Royals visit the Cleveland Indians to open a three-game series at Progressive Field.

The teams enter the series nearly even in the American League Central Division standings, where the Indians are exactly at .500 (34-34) and the Royals are a half-game back at 33-34.

Cleveland is 4 1/2 games in back of the front-running Detroit Tigers.

Shields, who won 15 games with Tampa Bay last season, split his initial four decisions across six starts with the Royals to begin 2013.

He defeated the Rays to reach 2-2 on April 30, but has since gone 0-4 in eight starts while the Royals have scored just 19 runs.

Kansas City is 3-5 in those eight starts and has actually won the last three, in which Shields has received no-decisions while giving up five runs on 21 hits in 21 innings.

He's 1-5 in nine career starts against the Indians.

Cleveland starts righty Carlos Carrasco, who makes his first appearance since a seven-game suspension that took effect on June 9.

He was penalized for throwing at Kevin Youkilis of the New York Yankees on April 9, but appealed, was sent to the minors and returned before the punishment took effect.

He's been ineffective in a pair of big-league starts this season, allowing 17 hits and 13 runs in just 7 2/3 innings, which has yielded a bloated 15.26 earned run average.

Carrasco is 2-2 in five starts against Kansas City.

On Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla., Jeff Francoeur hit a solo home run and Alex Gordon had a pair of RBI as the Royals downed the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, in the finale of a four-game set at Tropicana Field.

Alcides Escobar had three hits, an RBI and a run scored and Billy Butler added two hits and an RBI for the Royals, winners in 10 of their last 12 games.

Wade Davis (4-5) gave up two runs on five hits over six frames to earn the win. Greg Holland picked up his 14th save of the season despite giving up a homer in the ninth inning.

In Cleveland, Corey Kluber fired eight outstanding innings to spoil Stephen Strasburg's return to the mound and lead the Indians to a 2-0 victory in the finale of a three-game interleague series.

Kluber (5-4) pitched out of several jams and struck out eight without a walk before turning the game over to Vinny Pestano, who tossed a scoreless ninth to close out Cleveland's fourth win in five games.

The Royals and Indians split a four-game series in Kansas City between April 27 and 29, with Kansas City winning the first two and Cleveland the last two. The Royals won 10 of 18 games between the teams in 2012.

06/17 10:31:46 ET