Royals take their swings against Darvish

Yu Darvish will try to continue to pile up the strikeouts as he takes to the hill for the Rangers on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game set between the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals got into the win column for the second time in three games on Saturday with a 4-1 win in extra innings over the Rangers. David Lough was hit by a pitch with the based loaded in the 10th inning and then George Kottaras hit a two-run double to lift the Royals to the victory.

James Shields was stellar yet again for the Royals, tossing seven innings of one-run ball but did not factor in the decision. Aaron Crow got the win after pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and Greg Holland locked up his ninth save of the season with a perfect 10th inning.

Nick Tepesch allowed just one unearned run on a passed ball over 6 1/3 innings as the starter for the Rangers, but it was Robbie Ross who took the loss after allowing all three runs in the 10th inning. Texas had won back-to-back games before Saturday, including a 7-2 win in game one of this series.

Going up against a team he is very familiar with will be Ervin Santana who will make the start on Sunday afternoon's contest for the Royals.

Santana spent his first eight seasons pitching for the Rangers' American League West Division rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before moving to Kansas City this season. That has given Santana plenty of opportunities against the Rangers who he has faced 27 times, which is tied for the second- most with the 29 appearances against Seattle the top mark. In those 27 outings Santana has a winning record (13-11) but also a 6.04 ERA.

In his first year with the Royals, Santana is 3-5 with a respectable 3.33 ERA while he has struck out 57 batters in 70 1/3 innings pitched. Though it is early Santana's 1.095 WHIP is currently on pace to be the lowest of his career as well.

Though he has pitched into the eighth inning in each of his last two starts, Santana hasn't really pitched well. He has lost four straight decisions and has allowed nine total runs over 15 innings of work in the last two starts.

Darvish, meanwhile, tied a season-high by fanning 14 batters in his last start, but also allowed four runs over 7 2/3 innings of work in a 5-4 loss to Arizona. Darvish has now allowed four runs in two of his last three games and has been tagged for at least three in five of the last six.

Even with the recent struggles, Darvish is still the ace of the Rangers with a 7-2 record and an ERA of 3.03. Darvish's 14 strikeouts were indicative of how deceptive he has been this season as he has a major league-leading 105 punch- outs on the campaign. That total is 14 more than the second-most in the majors.

Darvish has made one start against Kansas City previously. That outing came last season when he allowed three runs over seven innings and picked up a win.

The Rangers won five of nine against the Royals last season.