Former No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar becomes the latest Kansas City pitcher to have a chance to end the team's home losing skid when the Royals host the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of four games at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals, who've won three times in six road games thus far in 2012, are still winless on the home field through six opportunities, including Wednesday, when Prince Fielder went 2-for-4 with two RBI and drove in the eventual game-winning run in the seventh to help Detroit win, 4-3.
The loss was the third in a three-game series and dropped Kansas City to 0-6 at home for the first time in franchise history.
Alcides Escobar blasted a two-run homer for the Royals, but grounded into a game-ending double play against Jose Valverde.
Hochevar, who pitched at the University of Tennessee, was selected first overall in 2006 and debuted a year later with the Royals, losing his only decision among four appearances with a 2.13 earned run average,
He won six, seven and six games over 65 appearances in the subsequent three seasons, then broke through for 11 victories last season in a career-high 31 starts while logging a career-most 198 innings.
The 6-foot-5, 218-pounder allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings en route to a 6-3 defeat of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in his initial outing of 2012, then was raked for seven runs on nine hits in four innings of an 8-3 loss to Cleveland six days later on April 13.
He is 3-1 in five starts against Toronto with a 3.41 ERA.
The Blue Jays go with Texas-born righty Kyle Drabek, who was chosen shortly after Hochevar as the No. 18 pick of the 2006 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
He came to Toronto in the December 2009 trade that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and won four decisions in his initial 21 appearances - 17 starts - in 2010-11.
The Victoria, Texas native has started strong with two straight wins in 2012, allowing nine hits and two earned runs in 12 2/3 innings against Boston and Baltimore - walking four batters and striking out 10 while holding foes to a .200 batting average.
Drabek won his lone start against the Royals with 5 1/3 innings of nine-hit, five-run ball with zero strikeouts and three walks.
On Thursday in Toronto, Desmond Jennings hit a go-ahead solo home run in the fifth, Evan Longoria added a two-run homer later in the inning and the Rays downed the Blue Jays, 9-4, in the finale of a three-game series.
Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia each hit an RBI double for Toronto, while Henderson Alvarez (0-1) gave up six runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings in the loss.
The Blue Jays fell to 6-6 on the season.
Kansas City was 4-3 versus the Jays a year ago.