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Washington at Kansas City

Venue: Kauffman Stadium

While a lack of offense has the Kansas City Royals slipping out of contention, things might not get any easier against the resurgent Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez looks to keep their bats cold and lead the Washington Nationals to their fourth straight win Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City's playoff hopes took another hit after Conor Gillaspie homered to lead off the 12th inning to give the White Sox a 4-3 victory Thursday. A five-game losing streak has dropped the Royals (64-62) 9 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central and seven games back of the final wild-card spot.

"They're grown men," manager Ned Yost said. "They've got to pull themselves out of it."

Since averaging 5.0 runs and batting .293 during a 17-3 stretch, Yost's club has scored 2.1 per game and hit .211 while losing eight of 10. Kansas City has also dropped five of seven interleague home games this season, scoring 19 total runs in those contests.

The Royals will try to break out against Gonzalez (7-6, 3.38 ERA), who can help get the Nationals (63-64) back to .500 for the first time since July 19.

Since allowing 10 runs and a career-high 11 hits over 3 1-3 innings in an 11-1 loss at Detroit on July 31, Gonzalez has yielded only four runs in his last three starts covering 18 innings. However, he's lost his only two decisions in that span while receiving three total runs of support.

He struck out nine and gave up two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 loss at Atlanta on Sunday.

Gonzalez is 3-3 with a 6.44 ERA in seven career starts against the Royals, but hasn't faced them since 2011 while with Oakland.

He's done a good job against Billy Butler (3 for 15) and Alex Gordon (1 for 7), though Butler is batting .361 over his last 16 games overall.

Kansas City counters with Bruce Chen (5-1, 2.20), who allowed season highs of six runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss at Detroit on Sunday.

Chen, though, has yet to lose this season at Kauffman Stadium with a 3-0 record and 1.96 ERA in 14 appearances. He's limited opponents to one run and 11 hits over 20 2-3 innings in three home starts.

This will be the left-hander's first start against the Nationals in over three years after going 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in six in the series from 2000-10.

Washington won its third straight with a 5-4, 13-inning victory over the Cubs on Thursday. Ryan Zimmerman had three hits, including a home run, and is 7 for 15 in his last three games. Tyler Moore is 6 for 12 during that same span.

The Nationals have averaged 2.3 runs and batted .176 in interleague road games, but are averaging 5.2 runs and hitting .288 while winning nine of 13 overall.

"We need things firing on all cylinders," outfielder Scott Hairston told the team's official website. "I think we have the talent, pitching and hitting, and once we all put that together, we're a dangerous team."

The Montreal/Washington franchise makes its first trip to Kansas City since taking two of three June 8-10, 2004.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Gio Gonzalez, LHP
2013 stats
151.2 Innings Pitched 77.2
7-6 Wins-Losses 5-1
3.38 Earned Run Average 2.20
61 Walks 21
155 Strikeouts 54
104 Pitches Per Start 98
Career vs. opponent
36.1 Innings Pitched 38.1
3-3 Wins-Losses 2-2
6.44 Earned Run Average 4.93

Bruce Chen, LHP
weather image  Mostly sunny. Hot.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington1st NL East5544.556-6-4 L 1
Kansas City3rd AL Central5050.50073-7 W 2
vs Bruce Chen
vs Gio Gonzalez

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J. KobernusHand
R. OhlendorfBack
E. PerezToe
J. WerthKnee
R. ZimmermanLeg
Kansas City
L. HochevarElbow
E. HosmerHand
J. VargasAppendectomy
Series Game Log
Apr 21CLECLE 4-3McAllister Guthrie 
Apr 22CLEKC 8-2Shields Salazar 
Apr 23CLECLE 5-3Shaw Herrera 
Apr 24CLECLE 5-1Kluber Chen 
Jun 10KCKC 9-5Vargas Kluber 
Jun 11KCKC 4-1Ventura Bauer 
Jul 4CLEKC 7-1Ventura Tomlin 
Jul 5CLECLE 7-3House Guthrie 
Jul 6CLECLE 4-1Kluber Duffy 
Jul 24KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 25KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 26KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 27KC 2:10 PM EDT  
Aug 29KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Aug 30KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 31KC 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 22CLE 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 23CLE 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 24CLE 7:05 PM EDT