(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals have a chance to further distance themselves from the Cleveland Indians when the two teams meet at Progressive Field on Saturday.
The Royals topped the Indians easily on Friday, producing a 7-1 victory. The win pushed the Royals to 45-40 this season, which has them in second place in the AL Central, four games back of first-place Detroit.
Cleveland, meanwhile, sits in third place, now five games back of the Royals.
Mike Moustakas ended a nine-game homerless drought with a three-run shot in the sixth inning. Christian Colon went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI, Salvador Perez connected for three hits and Lorenzo Cain went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI as well.
All the offense was more than enough for starter Yordano Ventura, who allowed just one run on six hits over a career-high 8 1/3 innings of work.
The Royals have now won five of their last six games.
Josh Tomlin was roughed up in taking his sixth loss of the season for Cleveland. The right-hander allowed five runs on 10 hits before bowing out after 5 2/3 innings.
Michael Brantley hit his 13th home run of the season in the ninth inning to account for the Indians' lone run.
Cleveland has lost three of its last five contests.
Jeremy Guthrie will attempt to earn his fourth straight winning decision on Saturday when he starts for the Royals.
Guthrie received a no-decision his last time out when he allowed four runs, two of which were earned, over 6 2/3 innings of work. However, prior to that appearance, he had picked up three straight wins in as many starts, improving his record to 5-6. Guthrie has also been steadily pushing his ERA down to a respectable level as it now sits at 3.69, nearly half a run less than it was at the beginning of June (4.14).
Guthrie really excelled in June, as he allowed two or fewer runs and lasted at least 6 2/3 innings in five of his six starts during the month. The Royals really benefited from his efforts, going 4-2 in his starts.
Unfortunately, Guthrie has never fared well in July, with an ERA of 4.78 in the month during his 11-year career, the highest mark he has in any month. There is even more bad news for Guthrie in this one, as he is just 4-4 with a 5.37 in 11 career outings against Cleveland.
While the Royals will rely on a veteran starter in this meeting, the Indians will turn to rookie T.J. House.
The 24-year-old left-hander made his Major League debut on May 17 when he pitched an inning of scoreless relief against Oakland. Since then he has been a full-time starter, making six starts. Through those seven total outings, House has gone just 0-2 with an ERA of 4.28.
He has shown some flashes of brilliance of late, especially in his last start when he allowed two runs, one of which was earned, across six innings of work against Seattle. Unfortunately, he received no run support, as the Indians lost 3-0.
This will be House's first appearance against the Royals and just the second against an AL Central rival.
Kansas City holds a slim 4-3 edge in the season series with Cleveland.