Royals-Blue Jays Preview
By MATT BECKER
(AP) -- Dormant for most of the season, the Kansas City Royals' offense is starting to come to life.
The visiting Royals look to build on their highest-scoring game of the year Tuesday night when they face the Toronto Blue Jays' Brett Cecil, who was knocked around in his last outing.
Kansas City (36-42) snapped a three-game losing streak by matching a season best with 14 hits in an 11-3 win in Monday's series opener. Mike Moustakas hit his first career grand slam and finished with a career-best five RBIs, while Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who were swept in four straight by the Blue Jays (40-40) at home in April.
"Our offense just went out there and did what we know what we can do," Moustakas said.
Kansas City's offense has been doing a lot of this lately, scoring at least eight runs five times in the last nine games. Prior to this surge, the Royals ranked last in the AL in runs and had reached the eight-run mark four times.
Several players have been instrumental to the turnaround with leadoff hitter Alex Gordon batting .425 with seven runs in the past 10 games, and Eric Hosmer hitting .433 in his last eight.
Moustakas was batting .196 with five RBIs over a 12-game stretch before Monday's performance, and he could be poised for another big game. He is 8 for 16 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBIs in four contests at Rogers Centre.
"This place is awesome to hit," Moustakas said.
He'll also be going up against Cecil (1-1, 6.06 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against the Royals.
The left-hander was tagged for eight runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings by the potent Los Angeles Angels in Thursday's 9-7 loss, after allowing three runs over 11 innings in his first two starts against struggling NL teams - Philadelphia and Miami.
Vin Mazzaro (3-2, 4.74) counters for Kansas City in his first start since June 22. The right-hander was roughed up for seven runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 11-4 loss to St. Louis in his most recent start. Mazzaro, who had a 2.70 ERA in his first four starts, tossed 2 1-3 innings of relief against Minnesota on Saturday in his most recent appearance.
Bouncing back against the Blue Jays, losers of five of seven, could be tough, considering he has an 11.70 ERA in losing his two career starts against them, his worst ERA against any opponent.
Mazzaro has yet to surrender a homer in 24 2-3 innings this year, but keeping that intact could be difficult with the way Jose Bautista is hitting.
Bautista was asked to be part of the AL side for the All-Star home run derby before Monday's game, and he then went out and hit his major league-leading 27th of the season. The two-time defending major league leader in homers has eight and 17 RBIs in his last 14 games, and has gone deep four times in seven contests against the Royals in Toronto since 2010.
Updated July 3, 2012