Major League Baseball
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American League Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, May 22nd (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (17-24) at New York Yankees (21-21), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Luke Hochevar (3-4, 7.02) New York - Phil Hughes (3-5, 5.23)

(Sports Network) - Scoring runs wasn't supposed to be a problem for the New York Yankees. Their offensive woes, though, have earned them a spot in the American League East cellar.

Tonight, the Yanks try to get the bats going, as they continue a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium.

New York fell for the sixth time in seven games in Monday's opener, as Felipe Paulino pitched into the seventh inning while Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur each hit two-run home runs in a 6-0 Royals win.

Paulino (2-1) scattered six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for Kansas City, which won for the second time in three games.

"We think that our rotation is starting to round out and he's a big part of the reason why," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Paulino.

Hiroki Kuroda (3-6) allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks through 5 1/3 innings for the Yankees, who dropped three straight games at Yankee Stadium for the first time since being swept by Boston in a three-game series from June 7-9, 2011.

Mark Teixeira returned to New York's starting lineup and hit seventh after being limited to one pinch-hit appearance during the weekend series against Cincinnati because of bronchial issues and went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts.

Over the last seven games the Yankees are averaging just 2.1 runs and batting a mere .211. They are also a miserable 6-for-72 (.083) with runners in scoring position in their last nine games.

"All teams do go through these things, and I think sometimes you can look at short periods of time and start to look for reasons why it's happening," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes you can fool yourself. I really believe that these guys are going to hit.

"We've had some other guys who have been up and down, and there's been some inconsistencies ... but I think we're a much better offense than we've showed. We need to turn it around."

Tonight, the Yanks turn to righty Phil Hughes, who is 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA. Hughes had a two-start win streak stopped on Thursday in Toronto, despite a solid effort that saw him allow two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss.

Hughes beat the Royals earlier in the year and is 3-1 lifetime against them with a 6.08 ERA in six games (five starts).

Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with righty Luke Hochevar, who lost to Hughes and the Yankees in that May 6 affair. Hochevar surrendered seven runs in 2 1/3 innings of that one and is 0-2 in four games (three starts) against the Yanks with an 8.83 ERA.

Hochevar lost for the third time in four starts overall on Thursday to Baltimore, surrendering four runs and seven hits in six innings to drop him to 3-4 on the year to go along with a 7.02 ERA.

The Yankees and Royals split a four-game series in Kansas City from May 3-6.

05/22 10:47:41 ET