The Kansas City Royals attempt to complete their first three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays in more than 11 years this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals entered this set having been swept by the St. Louis Cardinals, but they are looking to do the same to the Rays after outscoring them 16-2 through the first two games.
On Tuesday, Jeff Francoeur's three-run home run punctuated a four-run eighth and Kansas City rolled to an 8-2 win. Yuniesky Betancourt added a two-run shot, while Alex Gordon and Billy Butler drove in a run each for the Royals, who haven't swept the Rays since turning the trick from May 15-17, 2001.
"A lot of times early in the season, we struggled with swinging at balls out of the zone and not swinging at the pitch we want to. We have to realize that with runners in scoring position and less than two outs that the pitchers are in trouble," Butler said of KC's renewed approach at the plate. "We have to make them come to us and not put so much pressure on ourselves."
Bruce Chen (7-6) worked seven innings, allowing five hits and one earned run with a walk and five strikeouts.
Brooks Conrad contributed a solo homer for the Rays, losers in five of their last seven.
Chris Archer (0-2) fanned seven over 5 2/3 innings, but gave up four hits and four runs, all but one earned.
"Overall I think I did pretty well," said Archer, whose first start this year came against Stephen Strasburg. "I made some mistake pitches in that one inning. That one inning, the guy (Yuniesky Betancourt) hit it over the wall."
Getting the call for the Royals this afternoon will be lefty Everett Teaford, who will be recalled from Triple-A Omaha to temporarily take the place of Vin Mazzaro. Teaford made one start for Kansas City earlier in the year and was 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in three appearances. However, he went 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in seven games for Omaha this season.
"He's made great strides the last couple years in his career. He started at Double-A a couple of years ago to make a name for himself in our organization," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "The thing I like about him is he's got three pretty good pitches he throws for strikes and he competes really well."
Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with a lefty of its own in 23-year-old Matt Moore, who is 4-5 with a 4.13. Moore did not get a decision on Thursday in Washington, as he allowed two runs and three hits in five innings. He also walked four batters in his team's 5-2 loss.
Moore has never faced the Royals.
This is the first meeting of the season between these teams, but Tampa won the final five encounters in 2011.