The two hottest teams in the major leagues square off Monday as the Kansas City Royals host the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.
Detroit, which owns a 5 1/2-game lead in the American League Central, extended its winning streak to four games Sunday as it completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians.
Don Kelly belted a tiebreaking three-run homer in the sixth inning and Jose Alvarez tossed six strong frames in his major-league debut as the Tigers wrapped up a 5-1 homestand.
Division-rival Kansas City posted its season-high fifth consecutive victory Sunday, improving to 5-1 on its nine-game homestand with a 2-0 triumph over the Houston Astros. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back RBI singles in the eighth inning to help the Royals complete a sweep of the three-game set. Kansas City is in the midst of its longest winning streak since it captured seven straight from Sept. 10-17, 2011.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Doug Fister (5-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jeremy Guthrie (6-3, 3.66)
Fister enters with a four-start winless streak, although he has pitched well enough to win three of them. The 29-year-old, who has gone 16 1/3 innings without receiving a single run of support, took the loss Wednesday against Tampa Bay as his 21-frame scoreless streak came to an end in the ninth - when he yielded three runs en route to a 3-0 defeat. Fister is 2-3 with a 3.97 ERA and one complete game in eight meetings (seven starts) against Kansas City.
Guthrie halted his personal three-game skid Wednesday, limiting Minnesota to one run and six hits over six innings. The 34-year-old, who is 4-1 at home, has worked at least six frames in 11 of his 12 starts this season. Guthrie owns a 5-3 record and 3.89 ERA in 14 career games (11 starts) against the Tigers.
1. The Royals' five-game home winning streak is their longest since they recorded six consecutive victories at Kauffman Stadium from Aug. 17-30.
2. Tigers CF Austin Jackson, who has not played since May 11 due to a pulled left hamstring, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Monday.
3. Kansas City's bullpen has pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings over the last six contests.