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Saunders, Angels Set To Face Royals

(Sports Network) - The Royals haven't presented the Angels with much of an obstacle over the last two-plus seasons and Los Angeles starter Joe Saunders hasn't been exempt from that success.

Saunders aims to remain undefeated in his career versus Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

Los Angeles has won three of four versus Kansas City this year and has captured 15 of the last 18 meetings between the clubs. That includes a three- game sweep the last time these teams met in California on May 8-10, 2009.

Saunders is 3-0 with a 3.00 earned run average in four career starts against the Royals and he snapped a recent two-start skid on Saturday versus the Rockies.

The left-hander had allowed 11 earned runs over just 8 1/3 innings during his personal skid, but he held Colorado to just a pair of runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out eight and improving to 6-8 with a 4.88 ERA this year.

"I was working on stuff in the bullpen," Saunders said. "My curve ball and slider were working good tonight. I was just trying to be more consistent."

While the 29-year-old is just 2-6 with a 6.18 ERA in nine starts at home, the Angels enter the final set of their 12-game homestand with a 6-3 mark thus far on the residency. They just took two games from American League West-leading Texas, including a 2-1 victory on Thursday that pulled the Angels within 3 1/2 games of the Rangers.

Jered Weaver allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings in winning Thursday night's game, while Mike Napoli had an RBI double and Howie Kendrick also drove in a run in Los Angeles' fourth win in five games.

"That's as hot a lineup as your going to face," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of shutting down the Rangers. "There was no doubt Jered had his stuff. He used all his pitches. It was a great effort."

Even with their past success, the Angels can't look past a Royals club that has won five of its last seven games and is coming off Wednesday's 7-6 triumph over the White Sox.

Jose Guillen capped a four-run seventh inning with a three-run homer, while Billy Butler also went deep. Zach Greinke got the win despite allowing six runs on 10 hits in eight innings.

Kansas City begins a nine-game road trip tonight and Kyle Davies gets things going on the mound. The right-hander is 0-3 over his last five starts, though, with an 8.64 ERA. He had posted consecutive no-decisions in which he gave up 10 runs over 7 1/3 innings and then allowed five runs -- four earned -- in a seven-inning loss to the Cardinals on Saturday.

"You go into these games and you try to make the opposing team beat you and that's what he did today," said Royals' skipper Ned Yost in assessing Davies' outing. "He didn't walk a bunch of guys, he didn't give them free runs, they earned every one they got. It was a vast improvement."

Davies is 4-6 with a 6.06 ERA and 3-2 with a 6.65 ERA in eight road starts this season. The 26-year-old lost to the Angels at home on June 2, yielding six runs over four innings while falling to 1-1 against them lifetime with a 4.80 ERA.