The Oakland Athletics hope to avoid a fifth shutout at the hands of the Kansas City Royals this season when the two teams get together for the middle contest of a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Oakland's latest whitewashing at the hands of the Royals came on Tuesday when Jeremy Guthrie hurled seven scoreless innings as Kansas City used a five-run fifth to earn a 5-0 victory.
Guthrie (2-3) scattered three hits and walked two while striking out eight to earn his second consecutive win. He's thrown 15 scoreless innings over his last two starts.
"(In) both I want to go out there and pound the (strike) zone and get ahead of guys," Guthrie said. "Finish them off and not make mistakes. That's been the key in the last two starts."
Billy Butler, Chris Getz, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar drove in a run each for the Royals, who have won five of their last seven.
Jarrod Parker (7-7) was charged with five hits and five runs -- all but one earned -- over 4 2/3 innings for the Athletics, who have lost six of nine.
Parker held the fort for the first four innings before the floodgates opened in the fifth.
"I just got behind on a couple guys and they hurt me then," Parker said. "It's something I can't really do. It's inexcusable to put guys on after attacking. I started pitching backwards and it's not my style."
Oakland has been held scoreless a major league-leading 14 times in 2012, as well as two straight in Kansas City.
Rookie Will Smith will get his chance to hold down the A's on Wednesday. The left-hander got 'Jiggy wit It' in his last start, allowing just two runs in seven innings of an 8-2 win at Baltimore on Thursday. Smith is a solid 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts since being recalled from the minors a second time this season.
"The last time I was up here, things were moving too fast for me," Smith told the Kansas City's website. "I couldn't slow things down, but I went down to Triple-A and worked on slowing the game down."
Opposing Smith will be right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who will be making just his second start since going on the disabled list June 24 with a strained right shoulder. McCarthy was so-so in his return, allowing three solo home runs in six innings while registering a no-decision in a 4-3 Oakland loss at Chicago on Friday.
McCarthy is 2-1 with 4.59 ERA in 12 career outings with four starts against Kansas City.
The Royals have taken four of the seven meetings between these two teams this season with each Kansas City win a shutout.