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Jun 28, 2024 3:27 am

Royals look for more home cookin’ vs. Guardians

hunter renfroe

Preparing for the second game of a four-game set against the visiting Cleveland Guardians, the Kansas City Royals are glad to be home again.

The Royals’ 2-7 trip to Los Angeles, Texas and Oakland had disastrous effects on their pennant hopes as they fell from second place in the American League Central and now sit eight games behind the Guardians in the Central.

“We (stunk) on the road trip,” Vinnie Pasquantino said. “None of us are exactly thrilled with how it went. It wasn’t fun, but there was no panic. You try not to ride the waves. Just stay steady.”

Cole Ragans said, “Every team goes through a rough patch. We’re going through ours. Just keep doing the small things right and we’ll end up winning.”

The Royals suffered three shutouts on the trip, finishing with 22 straight scoreless innings.

Pasquantino, Salvador Perez and Hunter Renfroe each homered in their first game back home as Kansas City took two of three games from the Miami Marlins, then took the series opener from Cleveland with a 2-1 win Thursday, their fifth straight home win against the Guardians.

“Getting home, sleeping in your own bed after a long trip, that’s a big part of it,” Renfroe said. “Getting back into your routines, it’s a big deal, for sure. Just to be back home is great.”

Kansas City is 28-15 at Kauffman Stadium, where Bobby Witt Jr. owns a 22-game hitting streak, batting .409 with 16 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs. Witt’s .370 home batting average is baseball’s best.

Royals right-hander Alec Marsh (5-5, 4.40 ERA) goes to the mound Friday against Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie (3-4, 4.66).

In two appearances against Cleveland, Marsh is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He lost his lone start, July 26 last year, while allowing four runs on five hits – including a home run by José Ramírez – and four walks in 2 2/3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career.

Marsh has lost four of his last six starts. He surrendered three runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings at Texas on June 23.

McKenzie will be making his 13th appearance against the Royals, tied for his most against any opponent. He is 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 starts and two relief outings. Most recently, he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings June 4. Witt has four hits – three for extra bases – in 12 at-bats against McKenzie.

McKenzie hasn’t pitched beyond the sixth inning since May 17, and he has just one win in his past 11 starts. He allowed three runs on three hits and four walks in three innings against the Blue Jays on June 23.

The Guardians will be without right fielder Will Brennan, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday with an oblique strain.

“It’s the right thing to do to make sure we knock this thing out,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “He wants to play through it, but it’s a three- to five-day shutdown and then hopefully back into baseball activities.”

Brennan has hit .382 with three homers over his last 10 games.

Cleveland recalled José Tena from Triple-A Columbus, where he hit 14 homers and tallied 56 RBIs in 73 games while batting .293.

–Field Level Media

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