Royals-Athletics Preview

If they can continue to hold the slumping Oakland Athletics in check, the Kansas City Royals could secure their best start in 13 years.

Chris Young will try to do his part Saturday while avoiding a repeat of his latest outing.

Kansas City matched its 8-2 start from last year's championship season with a 4-2 victory in Friday's opener in Oakland. The Royals never trailed after scoring two runs in the opening inning.

The A's (4-7) saw their batting average drop to .212 after registering six hits, and they have totaled 10 runs in their last five games, eight during a string of four consecutive defeats.

Young (0-2, 7.45 ERA) will try to take advantage of facing that lineup while sending the Royals to their best 11-game start since going 10-1 in 2003. They also won 11 of their first 13 games, but finished third in the AL Central that season with an 83-79 record.

Kansas City is also seeking to improve to 5-1 on the road for the first time since winning six of its first seven in 2003 but will likely need a better outing from their veteran right-hander than in an 8-2 loss in Houston on Monday.

Young gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings after he was a 2-0 loser to the New York Mets in his season debut April 5. He yielded two runs and three hits in five innings in that game.

"I missed my spot a few times and got hit. Then hit my spot a lot and gave up hits, too," Young said. "I'll go back, get back to work and hopefully be better my next outing."

Young has given up two runs in six innings in each of his last two starts against the A's and earned a 3-2 victory - his first in four matchups - in his lone one last season June 27 in Oakland.

He might have to outduel Sonny Gray (1-1, 2.70) in this meeting. The A's right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.13 ERA in his 12 career starts in April but didn't get enough support to back a solid outing in a 4-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

Gray gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings - two on a home run to Mike Trout - after allowing one over seven innings in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago White Sox on April 6.

"My stuff was really good," Gray told MLB's official website. "Three pitches didn't go our way and they capitalized big time."

Eric Hosmer, batting .385 in his last six games, is 3 for 3 lifetime against Gray. Kendrys Morales is hitting .407 in his past seven contests versus Oakland after going 3 for 4 on Friday but is 2 for 12 lifetime against Gray.

The A's are 1-7 at home for the first time since beginning 1-9 in 2001, their worst start there since moving to Oakland. They have dropped their last five home games against the Royals, their longest such skid in the series since losing seven straight from 1987-88.