Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 9/21/12
(AP) -- The Cleveland Indians are in a much different race than they'd hoped, and pride is giving them enough motivation. It may also be a factor in trying to avoid their longest slide against the Kansas City Royals in 34 years. The Indians hope to end Friday night out of the AL Central cellar and snap a five-game skid to the Royals in the opener of this three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland (62-88) emerged from the All-Star break to beat Toronto on July 13, sitting three games back of division-leading Chicago. The Indians have been in a tailspin ever since, going 17-47 while dropping 27 of 34 on the road. Instead of competing for the top spot in the Central, Cleveland is tied with Minnesota at the bottom of the division and is trying to avoid its first last-place finish since 1991 in the AL East. "No one wants to finish last," manager Manny Acta said. "It's a pride thing. ... It just doesn't sound good." The Indians moved out of sole possession of last place Thursday, beating the Twins 4-3 on Casey Kotchman's bases-loaded single in the 10th inning. "It's nice to get on this flight with a win," said Kotchman, who went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. "Winning makes everything a little bit better." Cleveland hasn't done any of that in the last five meetings with the Royals (68-81), losing each while compiling a 6.45 ERA - 11.03 from its starters. The Indians last dropped six straight to Kansas City in 1978. Justin Masterson (11-14, 4.93 ERA) was hit hard in his last matchup against the Royals, an 8-2 defeat on May 29. He surrendered seven runs in the first two innings and gave up another before exiting after the sixth. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.09 ERA in eight games - seven starts - against Kansas City. Masterson enters this meeting looking to avoid a third straight losing start and match his career high in wins from last year. He was reached for four runs - two earned - and six hits over 4 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Detroit on Saturday. The Royals are batting .310 with 11 stolen bases during their winning streak over the Indians, and enter this series with momentum after Eric Hosmer's walkoff single beat Chicago 4-3 Thursday. Alex Gordon is 5 for 11 in his last three games overall and is batting .457 (16 for 35) with two homers and eight RBIs in the past eight meetings with the Indians. He's 11 for 27 (.407) with a homer and three doubles off Masterson. Luis Mendoza (7-9, 4.50) is scheduled to return to the rotation for the Royals after missing his last start with strep throat. The right-hander last took the mound Sept. 13 in a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Minnesota, where he allowed one run with six strikeouts in six innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.61 ERA in his last six starts, but 3-0 with a 4.40 ERA in his last five at home with all of them ending in Royals victories. That stretch includes a 5-2 win over Cleveland on Aug. 1, when he yielded two runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. Billy Butler's next RBI will make him the first Royal with 100 since Carlos Beltran's 100 in 2003.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

Report: NBA GMs not hesitant to draft Lonzo Ball due to father LaVar

DeShone Kizer changes course, stands by Tom Brady-Cam Newton quote

Nick Saban doesn't offer much praise of team for 'adequate' spring game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dennis Schroder admits Mike Budenholzer wants him to avoid trash talk

WATCH: Miguel Sano throws punch as benches clear in Twins-Tigers game

Glen Coffee making NFL comeback after four years in Army, seven years away from game

Fan wears Clemson championship gear to Alabama spring game

NBA reportedly investigating incident involving Patrick Beverley, Thunder fan

Blake Griffin out for the season with toe injury; how screwed are the Clippers?

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker