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Royals try to make up some ground versus Rangers

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The Sports Network
9/20/2013 11:12:00 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Kansas City Royals have yet to lose consecutive games this month, allowing them to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The Royals have a chance to make up ground this weekend as they host one of the occupants of a wild card spot, the Texas Rangers, in a three-game series that begins tonight.

Kansas City has not made the postseason since winning the 1985 World Series and currently finds itself three games back of Texas and the Tampa Bay Rays for the two extra playoff spots. The Rangers and Rays have identical 83-69 records, putting them just a half-game ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the wild card race.

Baltimore is one game ahead of Kansas City in the race as well.

Though the Royals have alternated wins and losses over their last seven, they have gone 11-6 in September and have not lost two in a row since Aug. 30-31. They kept that streak intact by winning the rubber match of a three-game set with the Indians on Wednesday.

"Every game is a must win," said starter Bruce Chen after the Royals' 7-2 victory, which came a day after the club squandered a 3-0 lead in Tuesday's loss.

Kansas City's 42 wins at home this season are the most for the franchise since 2000 and this series marks the final one at home for the Royals this regular season.

Texas, meanwhile, entered a four-game set with Tampa Bay even with the club atop the wild card standings and a split of the set by the clubs kept them right where they started.

The Rangers will take it as a loss in Monday's opener pushed their losing streak to seven straight before they took two of the next three. They secured the split with Thursday's 8-2 win.

"We're playing better baseball," said Texas' Elvis Andrus, who drove in three runs on Thursday. "That's how we're looking right now. You can see how everything is starting to fall on track."

Texas is on the road for the final time this regular season and has a favorable homestand to end the campaign, with seven straight against the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Martin Perez will try to pitch the Rangers to a win tonight and avoid a personal third straight setback.

Perez has allowed seven runs over back-to-back losses after pitching to a 2.76 earned run average in winning six straight starts. He let up three runs in Sunday's 5-1 decision versus Oakland over 6 1/3 innings.

The A's swept that three-game set and currently lead the Rangers by 6 1/2 games for first place in the AL West.

The 22-year-old lefty faces the Royals for the first time and will be opposed by Ervin Santana tonight.

Santana is 9-9 with a 3.23 ERA in 30 starts this season, his first with the Royals after beginning his career with eight seasons as a member of the Angels.

The right-hander picked up his first victory since Aug. 4 last time out, besting Detroit 1-0 on Saturday. Santana gave up five hits and one walks over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, snapping a seven-start winless streak that saw him go 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA.

Santana, 30, is 13-11 with a 5.79 ERA in 28 career meetings with Texas.

The Rangers took two of three from the Royals at home on May 31-June 2 and have won seven of the last 10 meetings. They went 5-2 in Kansas City last year.

Ervin Santana (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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