Indians turn to Lowe against Royals

Veteran righty Derek Lowe makes his second home start of the season tonight when the road-successful Cleveland Indians return to Progressive Field to face the home-averse Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game series.

The Indians head back to Cleveland after a nine-game road trip on which they won seven times, but wrapped up with a 5-1 loss on Sunday in Oakland.

Justin Masterson (0-2) gave up four runs on six hits and six walks over five innings in the setback while Travis Hafner recorded the lone RBI.

Meanwhile, the Royals hit the road after a woeful season-opening stretch at Kauffman Stadium that included a stretch of losses that reached a franchise- record 10 when they dropped a 4-1 decision to Toronto on Monday.

Bruce Chen (0-2) was charged with three runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings in the start. Eric Hosmer finished with two hits, including a solo homer.

The defeat was Kansas City's 11th in a row after a 3-2 start.

Lowe, who'll turn 39 later this season, is 2-1 in his initial three starts with the Indians after he was dealt from Atlanta last October in exchange for minor-leaguer Chris Jones.

The Michigan native made 101 starts in three seasons with the Braves, winning 15 and 16 games in his initial two years before slumping to 9-17 with a 5.05 earned run average in 2011.

The Braves are paying two-thirds of his $15 million salary for 2012.

Lowe opened with consecutive defeats of Toronto and the Royals while allowing 16 hits and three earned runs across 13 2/3 innings.

He was knocked from start No. 3 after just 4 1/3 innings, however, and suffered a 4-1 loss to Seattle after walking six batters and allowing eight hits.

He's 4-5 lifetime against Kansas City with a 4.76 ERA across 73 2/3 innings.

The Royals go with lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who'll also make his fourth start with a new team after an offseason trade.

Sanchez won 13 games for the World Series-champion San Francisco Giants in 2010 and was 4-7 in 19 starts with them last season before coming to the American League in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

He was a 7-3 winner over Los Angeles in his initial Kansas City start, but has subsequently picked up no-decisions in a pair of Royals losses while allowing seven runs in 7 2/3 innings.

Sanchez's next win will be the 40th of his big-league career.

The Indians swept a three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City from April 13-15 and have won 13 of the last 17 encounters.