(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Dominican right-handers duel Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium, as Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds pay a quick visit to Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a two-game series.
Cueto is 3-3 with a solid 2.93 earned run average in eight starts and has been sharp the past few appearances, going 3-1 in the previous five trips to the hill. In a 4-3 win over San Francisco on Thursday, Cueto struck out nine batters and allowed two runs over seven innings for the no-decision.
The dread-locked Cueto has pitched at least six innings in every start and seven or more innings seven times. He is 2-2 in four road assignments and 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against the Royals.
Ventura has never faced the Reds and is struggling recently on the mound, going 0-3 with a 6.59 earned run average in the last five starts. Ventura was roughed up in last Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Texas and gave up five runs for the third time this season and a season-high 10 hits in seven innings.
"I thought he did a nice job of containing the damage and keeping us in there," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The fiery righty, who has given up 14 runs in his past three turns on the mound, is 2-3 overall through seven starts with a 5.36 ERA.
Kansas City has a 1 1/2-game lead on the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and is unbeaten in its last six series (4-0-2). The club won two of three matchups with the New York Yankees this weekend and recorded a 6-0 win Sunday thanks to seven shutout innings from Edinson Volquez.
Volquez tamed the Yankees to the tune of three hits, five strikeouts and no walks.
"All my pitches were there today," Volquez said. "I was able to throw a lot of strikes, attack hitters, keep the ball down. I was able to make some good pitches."
Salvador Perez homered and went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Royals, who have won six of their last nine games.
The Royals, who are 13-6 in KC, will host the St. Louis Cardinals for three games on this eight-game homestand at Kauffman Stadium.
Cincinnati lost the last three meetings of a four-game series versus San Francisco and fell to 3-6 in its past nine contests with Sunday's 9-8 setback to the defending World Series champion Giants.
Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce both homered and combined for five hits and four RBI in a losing effort. Billy Hamilton added two runs batted in, while starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani struggled in only three innings, charged with six runs and six hits with three walks and two K's.
"I was falling behind guys and leaving balls over the plate," DiSclafani said.
The Reds went 5-5 the last time they departed the Queen City and will visit Cleveland for three games after this set with Kansas City.
Kansas City was 15-5 against NL opponents last season and is playing the Reds for the first time since taking two of three matchups back in 2010. The Royals are 5-1 in the previous six games against the Reds.