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Toronto at Kansas City

Venue: Kauffman Stadium

A late-season run helped the Kansas City Royals finish just below .500 at Kauffman Stadium in 2011.

The Royals have plenty of work to do if they hope to finish anywhere near that mark this season.

Kansas City looks to avoid an 11th consecutive loss overall and a winless 10-game homestand Monday night when the Toronto Blue Jays go for their first four-game road sweep since 2003.

By winning six of their last eight in Kansas City, the Royals finished 40-41 at home last season - their best record there since splitting 80 games in 2003. Reaching the break-even point would be a major accomplishment for this year's club after falling to 0-9 at home with Sunday's 5-3 loss.

It's the worst home start in franchise history, and the 10 consecutive losses at Kauffman Stadium dating to last season are also the most by the Royals.

"This is not even a hole," said designated hitter Billy Butler, who is 0 for 10 in the series after opening the homestand with 11 hits in his first 24 at-bats. "We finished 32 games under .500 (in 2009). That's a hole."

The Royals (3-12), already 6 1/2 games out of the AL Central lead, last dropped 11 straight during a 12-game skid May 19-30, 2008.

"We're close to getting to the point of needing to make some changes," manager Ned Yost said. "If we need to make some moves, we will, but we can't continue with this."

Yost and the Royals hope Monday's scheduled starter Bruce Chen (0-1, 2.00 ERA) can help them avoid matching the 12-game slide.

Opponents are batting just .203 off the veteran left-hander, but Chen's run-support average of 1.50 ranks among the lowest in the majors. He allowed two runs in seven-plus innings of Tuesday's 3-1 home loss to Detroit.

Chen is 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA in eight career starts versus Toronto.

He'll face a Blue Jays team targeting its first four-game road sweep since May 22-25, 2003, against the New York Yankees.

Toronto (9-6), which is also going for its second 6-1 road start in three seasons, will try to extend its season-high winning streak to four with Brandon Morrow (0-1, 4.50) on the hill.

The right-hander led the AL last season with 10.19 strikeouts per nine innings, but he has just nine in his first 20 innings of 2012.

Another concern is that Morrow has been tagged for six homers after giving up a career high-tying three in Wednesday's 12-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

"He wasn't able to get away with too many mistakes," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said after Morrow yielded season highs of six runs and eight hits. "First-pitch fastballs found their way back to the middle and were squared up for extra-bases."

Morrow went 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts against Kansas City last season.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is 3 for 6 with a homer off Morrow, but is batting .171 (6 for 35) on the current homestand.

Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, 5 for 12 with a homer and four RBIs during the series, is hitless in three at-bats against Chen.

So is two-time defending major league home run champion Jose Bautista, who has gone 32 consecutive at-bats at Kauffman Stadium without a homer.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Brandon Morrow, RHP
2012 stats
20.0 Innings Pitched 18.0
0-1 Wins-Losses 0-1
4.50 Earned Run Average 2.00
7 Walks 2
9 Strikeouts 14
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
27.0 Innings Pitched 62.2
2-4 Wins-Losses 4-2
5.33 Earned Run Average 2.87

Bruce Chen, LHP
weather image  Sunny. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Toronto1st AL East7657.571-8-2 W 2
Kansas City1st AL Central8251.617-7-3 W 2
vs Bruce Chen
vs Brandon Morrow

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Game Odds
Toronto -120 Kansas City 110
M. IzturisGroin, shoulder
M. SaundersKnee
M. StromanKnee
D. TravisShoulder
Kansas City
T. CollinsElbow
B. FlynnLat
K. HerreraIllness
M. MoustakasHamstring
A. RiosIllness
J. VargasElbow
Series Game Log
Apr 6KCKC 10-1Ventura Samardzija 
Apr 8KCKC 7-5Davis Putnam 
Apr 9KCKC 4-1Volquez Danks 
Apr 23CHWKC 3-2Morales Petricka 
Apr 24CHWPPD   
Apr 25CHWPPD   
Apr 26CHWCHW 3-2Robertson Herrera 
Apr 26CHWCHW 5-3Danks Volquez 
Jul 17CHWKC 4-2Young Samardzija 
Jul 17CHWCHW 2-0Danks Volquez 
Jul 18CHWKC 7-6Finnegan Jennings 
Jul 19CHWKC 4-1Duffy Sale 
Aug 7KCKC 3-2Volquez Danks 
Aug 8KCKC 7-6Guthrie Samardzija 
Aug 9KCKC 5-4Herrera Petricka 
Sep 4KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 5KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 6KC 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 29CHW 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 30CHW 8:10 PM EDT  
Oct 1CHW 8:10 PM EDT