Royals renew rivalry with Cardinals

( - Veteran Chris Young will try to extend Kansas City's best start in franchise history on Friday evening when the Royals renew their interleague rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Royals come into the opener of this three-game series with the best 40- game start in club history. Their 26-14 record bests the 1989 club's 25-15 start to their season.

In setting a new franchise record, the Royals also matched another one in Wednesday's 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Jeremy Guthrie logged six scoreless frames to run Kansas City's scoreless innings streak to 24, matching the previous mark set from June 9-12, 1976.

The streak began with a 6-0 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday and was extended with Tuesday's 3-0 series-opening victory. It ended in the seventh, when reliever Ryan Madson surrendered a run.

Still, the Royals had little trouble finishing off a two-game sweep of the Reds as Alex Gordon and Kendrys Morales each drove in two runs as the AL Central leaders won for the sixth time in eight games.

"It's a real strong feeling that every time we walk through that door, we're going to win the baseball game," said Royals manager Ned Yost.

The Royals have felt that way when Young has had to take the mound to open a ballgame and he makes his fourth start of the season tonight.

Young has appeared in nine games with Kansas City in 2015, going 3-0 with a 0.94 earned run average. In his three starts, he has yielded just one earned run and seven hits over 16 2/3 innings, striking out 14 and winning a pair of decisions.

The 6-foot-10 righty's latest victory came on Friday in a home matchup with the Yankees. Young was charged with one run on four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings of a 12-1 rout.

"You love going against other first-place teams," said Young. "You have to give your best effort night in and night out."

The 35-year-old will hope his hot streak can get him a first career victory over the Cardinals. He is 0-3 in five prior starts with a 3.65 ERA.

Armed with an ERA now under 3.00, Lance Lynn shoots for a third straight winning start tonight for the Cardinals.

Lynn has allowed one or fewer earned run in all but two of his eight starts this season, though he did allow 11 runs over a pair of losses to dent his numbers a bit. However, the righty has yielded just a single run and struck out 16 over his past two starts.

The 28-year-old blanked Cleveland over six scoreless innings of four-hit ball on May 12, striking out nine. He then held the Detroit Tigers to a run on six hits and two walks in 7 1/3 frames of work in Sunday's 2-1 win, fanning seven.

"Lance was great, no question about it," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We need somebody to step up ... and that's exactly what he did."

Lynn is 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA and will face the Royals for the third time in his career. He has a 5.84 ERA without a decision in the previous two encounters.

The Cardinals had won three of four prior to yesterday's 5-0 loss to the New York Mets in the finale of a four-game series. The Mets' Jacob deGrom held the Cards to only one hit and no walks over eight innings, retiring the final 23 batters he faced after giving up a one-out single to Matt Carpenter in the first inning.

St. Louis' Jaime Garcia made his season debut, giving up two runs on five hits while walking five in seven innings. It was left-hander's first start in the majors since undergoing thoracic outlet surgery last July to alleviate numbness and tingling in his pitching arm and hand.

"Far as how he went about his business, it looked usual to me," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Garcia. "I thought it was a great approach from the beginning. We just needed to get some offense for him."

The Royals won three of their four meetings with the Cardinals in last season's I-70 rivalry, but have lost eight of their last nine at home against St. Louis.