Royals aim to keep shutout streak going vs. Reds

( - The Kansas City Royals target their third straight shutout and a two-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday from Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals won Sunday's finale of a three-game series with the New York Yankees 6-0, then handed the Reds a 3-0 defeat in Tuesday's opener.

Yordano Ventura outdueled fellow Dominican Johnny Cueto with seven shutout innings of four-hit ball and six strikeouts. Ventura did not walk a batter, while Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis each threw a scoreless inning of relief. Davis has seven saves on the season.

"This is the best I've felt this season," Ventura said with teammate Christian Colon as his interpreter. "All my pitches were sharp. I was just focused on having my pitches down in the zone and having quality pitches."

The Royals, who are 14-6 at home and 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit for the AL Central lead, registered consecutive shutouts for the first time since Sept. 29-30, 1992.

Mike Moustakas went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI, and Omar Infante ended with two hits, an RBI and a run scored for Kansas City, which has won seven of its last 10 games.

Kansas City will host St. Louis for three games this weekend to close out an eight-game homestand.

Jeremy Guthrie aims for a third straight win when he takes the mound Wednesday for the Royals and posted his second victory in a row in last Thursday's 6-3 win at Texas, lasting five innings and giving up two runs. Guthrie improved to 3-2 in seven starts with a 5.44 ERA and KC is 5-2 in his appearances.

Guthrie is 0-2 in three home starts and 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two career starts against the Reds.

The Reds have lost four in a row and seven of their last 10 games to fall eight games off the lead in the NL Central.

Cueto failed to beat his countryman Ventura and was touched for all three runs over seven innings with four K's and a walk. He allowed nine hits.

"They're a good team. There are no excuses," Cueto said through a translator. "I did what I had to do."

Devin Mesoraco had two of Cincinnati's four hits. The club will visit the Cleveland Indians for three games this weekend.

Taking the mound for the Reds Wednesday will be Jason Marquis. Marquis is mired in a personal two-game slide after winning three straight and pitched poorly in Friday's 10-2 loss to San Francisco, charged with six runs and seven hits in only three innings.

Marquis has given up three runs or more six times in seven starts and is 3-3 with a 6.63 ERA. The veteran righty is 2-2 in four road assignments and has prevailed in all three career starts against the Royals.

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 6-1 in the previous seven games against the Reds and 10-8 all-time in this series.