Slumping Royals now face Dodgers Aces

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke is returning to face his first big-league club with his third different team since leaving Kansas City.

He may not be who the Royals want to see since they are on a four-game slide that has dropped them out of first place.

The Dodgers begin a three-game series Monday night with Greinke on the mound in their first visit to Kansas City in nine seasons.

Greinke (9-3, 2.57 ERA) spent his first seven seasons with the Royals, winning the Cy Young Award with them in 2009. He was traded to Milwaukee before the 2010 season.

The right-hander returned to Kansas City for the first time June 12, 2012, with the Brewers. He gave up one run in seven innings and did not get a decision in a 2-1 loss.

Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on July 27 that year and made another start at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 15, yielding one run in 8 1-3 innings as he failed to receive a decision in a 3-2 defeat.

Now he will make another trip back with the Dodgers, who were swept between June 14-16, 2005, in their lone previous trip to Kansas City. The Royals (39-36) lead the all-time series, 4-2.

"It's always fun when you play games like that, especially with Greinke, because he was here for a good part of his career and a lot of fans saw him in his Cy Young season," first baseman Eric Hosmer told the Royals' official website.

Greinke surrendered one run in six innings Tuesday to earn his first victory in four outings, 4-2 over Colorado.

He endured nothing but losing seasons during his time in Kansas City, but the Royals are contenders now despite totaling eight runs in this slide that has dropped them 2 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central. The losing streak came on the heels of a 10-game winning run that put Ned Yost's club atop the division.

"We're playing fine, but just an offensive down turn a little bit," Yost said. "You go through the ups and downs. A four-game losing streak right when you had put together a nice 10-game winning streak, it's tough."

Los Angeles (42-35) has won seven straight road interleague games and 10 of its last 14 overall after taking two of three in San Diego over the weekend even though Yasiel Puig went 1 for 10.

Adrian Gonzalez has 45 RBIs to lead the Dodgers, with Puig and Hanley Ramirez are tied for second with 44 apiece. Manager Don Mattingly said he will split designated hitter duties in this series among that trio.

Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (4-6, 3.86) will finally face the only team he has never seen in his 11-year career. The active Dodgers batter he has faced the most is Gonzalez, who is 4 for 13 off him.

Guthrie can win his third straight outing after yielding one run in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in a 2-1 road victory over the Tigers. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 3.71 ERA in his last five home starts.

He has never faced Matt Kemp, batting .410 with 10 RBIs over a 10-game hitting streak.

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