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MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland GuardiansJun 4, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Seth Lugo (67) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Chasing a 10th win for the first time in nine career seasons, Kansas City Royals right-hander Seth Lugo will try to rebound from a rare 2024 defeat when he faces the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

Lugo (9-2, 2.36 ERA) allowed four runs in seven innings against the New York Yankees on Monday and took his first loss in nine starts. His eight hits allowed were his second most on the season and he even hit two batters.

It was just the third game in which Lugo had allowed more than two earned runs this season. Two of them have come in his past two starts.

“I think it’s a matter of game plan, just try to mix it up just a little bit better,” Lugo told reporters. “Overall, I thought I threw the ball well, and I’ll tip my hat to some good approaches over there.”

The Royals ended a four-game losing streak with a comeback victory over the Yankees on Thursday. They were unable to add to that momentum after squandering a three-run lead in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers on Friday.

Royals veteran catcher Salvador Perez hit a 437-foot home run, his longest this season, but he was removed in the ninth inning with an apparent left hand injury.

The Dodgers didn’t hold a lead until the bottom of the eighth inning when Freddie Freeman singled against left-hander Will Smith to score Mookie Betts.

Lugo will be facing the Dodgers for the 13th time in his career, with two of those previous matchups coming in starts. Lugo is 2-2 lifetime against Los Angeles with a 6.30 ERA.

The Dodgers will send right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the mound Saturday on an extra two days of rest. Yamamoto (6-2, 3.00) originally was scheduled to start Thursday against the Texas Rangers, but the Dodgers elected to give their first-year player seven full days of rest between starts.

Yamamoto, who has yet to face the Royals, last started June 7 on the road against the Yankees and scattered two hits over seven scoreless frames in a game the Dodgers eventually won 2-1 in 11 innings. It was Yamamoto’s fifth scoreless start of the season and his first since May 1.

The Dodgers’ bottom of the order was able to stand out Friday, with Miguel Rojas and Chris Taylor each hitting a home run in the fifth inning to tie the score 3-3 before Freeman’s late heroics.

It was just the third home run of the season for Rojas, and first since April 3. It was Taylor’s first of the year amid some massive struggles. Taylor entered the game batting just .100.

The win for Los Angeles came after consecutive losses to the Texas Rangers.

“(It) felt like a must-win game for us,” Rojas said on the SportsNet LA broadcast. “Every time we lose a series, we are looking to bounce back every single time. It’s all about winning series and that’s what we need to do in October as well. We take pride in winning series.”

The Dodgers improved to 15-9 in series-opening games this season.

–Field Level Media

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