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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, September 1 (All times Eastern)

Texas Rangers (53-83) at Kansas City Royals (74-61), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Colby Lewis (9-11, 5.44) Kansas City - Yordano Ventura (10-9, 3.40)

(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Kansas City Royals have any intentions on making a run toward an American League Central title, they have to start playing better down the stretch.

The Royals will try to take their recent frustrations out on the worst team in the AL when the Texas Rangers pay a visit to Kauffman Stadium Monday for the opener of a three-game series.

Kansas City had its Sunday night game versus the Cleveland Indians suspended in the 10th inning because of rain and was trailing 4-2 at the time. The game will be completed Sept. 22. Alex Gordon hit a home run to tie the game at 2-2 in the ninth and starting pitcher Danny Duffy allowed two runs -- one earned -- in 6 2/3 innings.

"Bizarre game," Gordon said. "But it hasn't ended yet."

The Royals, losers in three straight and five of the past seven games, are just a half-game ahead of Detroit for the AL Central lead and will resume their homestand with Yordano Ventura on the mound Monday.

Ventura missed his last scheduled start because of a back issue and is 10-9 with a 3.40 earned run average. Ventura last pitched in a 6-3 win at Texas on Aug. 22 and tossed six innings of one-run ball for the win. He is 3-1 in his last four decisions and KC has a 5-1 mark in his past six outings.

The right-hander is 4-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) at home. He hasn't lost at home since June 28 versus the LA Angels.

Texas is 3-4 on its 10-game road trip and lost three of four meetings with the Houston Astros this weekend.

The Rangers lost the Silver Boot and Sunday's finale by a 3-2 score, as Matt Dominguez hit a solo homer and Jose Altuve delivered an RBI single in the eighth inning to lead the hosts.

Neal Cotts was dealt the loss for the Rangers and starting pitcher Nick Martinez was solid through 5 1/3 innings, charged with one run and six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

"It's a team game, you want to see the team win," said Martinez. "There are always going to be some positives and negatives. I'm still going to study my outing today and take what I can from it."

Alex Rios and Ryan Rua each had an RBI in the loss, which dropped the Rangers to an MLB-worst 53-83 on the season.

Colby Lewis looks to get the Rangers back in the win column when he takes the mound Monday. Lewis is 9-11 with a 5.44 ERA and is coming off a complete game performance at Seattle last Wednesday, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in a 12-4 victory.

Lewis is 7-3 in 11 road starts this season and only 1-3 in six career games (5 starts) with a 6.67 ERA against the Royals.

The Royals won two of three games in Texas a few weeks ago (Aug. 22-24).

09/01 10:28:04 ET