Major League Baseball
Preview
Cleveland at Kansas City
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 27, 2014
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City Royals attempt to complete their fifth sweep of the season when they host the Cleveland Indians in the finale of their four-game series Sunday. Kansas City is in position to record its second sweep against Cleveland thanks to Billy Butler, who hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in a pinch-hitting role Friday before swatting another in a 7-5 triumph the following night. The Royals, who have won five in a row, also won a brief two-game set versus the Indians at home last month.

Kansas City has climbed within five games of first-place Detroit in the American League Central while division rival Cleveland, which has lost four consecutive contests, is 7 1/2 games behind the Tigers. The Indians squandered an early 5-0 lead en route to their sixth defeat in seven games but continue to get production from Carlos Santana. The red-hot Dominican enters Sunday with a six-game hitting streak during which he is 12-for-24 with four home runs and six RBIs.

TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), FSN (Kansas City)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Danny Salazar (2-4, 5.12 ERA) vs. Royals LH Bruce Chen (2-2, 5.80)

Salazar made his ninth start of the season - and first since May 15 - on Tuesday, notching the win after allowing one run and six hits over five innings at Minnesota. The 24-year-old Dominican has yielded three earned runs or fewer in each of his last five outings, going just 2-1 in that span. Salazar fell to 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in two career turns against Kansas City on April 22, when he surrendered five runs - four earned - and seven hits in 4 1/3 frames.

Chen has pitched well while filling in for the injured Jason Vargas, going 1-0 in two starts while allowing a total of three runs over 10 1/3 innings. The 37-year-old Panamanian made a pair of relief appearances following a lengthy stint on the disabled list due to a bulging disk in his back, including a scoreless inning at Cleveland on July 6. Chen dropped to 7-4 lifetime against the Indians on April 24, when he was tagged for five runs in 4 1/3 frames of a road loss.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to return to the lineup Sunday after missing four games with lower back spasms.

2. Chen currently is tied with Mariano Rivera for first place among Panamanian-born players with 82 career victories.

3. Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to an illness.

PREDICTION: Indians 7, Royals 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cleveland 51-53 L4 29-19 22-34 13-11 22-25 8-11 8-6
Kansas City 53-50 W5 25-25 28-25 14-12 23-23 8-11 8-4
Last Meeting
Cleveland Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/26/14 CLE 5 KC 7 .324 1 .877 .273 1 .739
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .367 18 .934
Kansas City A. Escobar .325 13 .714
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland C. Santana 4 7 7
Kansas City M. Moustakas 6 12 12
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.57 .266 87
Kansas City 3.42 .256 86
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .316 124 .878
Kansas City S. Perez .284 102 .757
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland C. Santana 18 46 46
Kansas City M. Moustakas 13 30 40
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.91 .255 904
Kansas City 3.67 .263 745