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KC@CWS: Hochevar goes seven scoreless vs. White Sox

After a stellar rookie season in 2011, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has found himself in a sophomore slump.

Hosmer was second among American League rookies last season with a .293 average, behind only Oakland's Jemile Weeks' .303 average. Hosmer's 19 home runs were behind only Mark Trumbo's 29 and Toronto's J.P. Arencibia's 23.

However, Hosmer is hitting just .174 this season, despite making good contact at the plate.

"Eric Hosmer's swinging the bat very well," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He's not getting much to show for it. This guy has probably got 17, 18 lineouts, which is the difference between hitting .170 and .450, if those balls would find a hole. It's not a case that he's not swinging the bat well. He's not finding holes.

"He's very unlucky right now. And there is something to be said for a little bit of luck, and he just doesn't have it right now."

Hosmer went 2-for-4 with an RBI double on Tuesday, but was 0-for-7 on Wednesday against the Orioles. Still, Yost believes Hosmer is bound to get things back on track, and Hosmer's luck could change as soon as Thursday in the second game of a two-game set against Baltimore.

While the Royals are looking for their young hitter to get back in the swing of things, the Orioles are also looking toward a young player to spark their offense. Rookie Xavier Avery made his Major League debut on Sunday and recorded his first career hit on Monday in a 2-for-5 performance with a double and a triple.

Avery has hit in the leadoff role in three of four games and went 2-for-6 hitting at the top of the order in Wednesday's extra-inning affair with Kansas City.

"It's a nice dynamic to a lineup," Orioles bench coach John Russell said. "You get a guy who can really run and it creates a lot of havoc for the defense.''

Orioles: Matusz searching for consistency

• Southpaw Brian Matusz (2-4, 5.50 ERA) had one of his best performances of the season in his last start, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs. Matusz hasn't pitched deeper than 6 1/3 innings this year and will look to change that against the Royals, a team he has faced just once in his career.

Royals: Hochevar gets the start in series finale

• Right-handed pitcher Luke Hochevar (3-3, 7.20 ERA) will take the mound as the teams wrap up the two-game series. He is coming off his best outing of the season, a seven-inning scoreless effort during which he gave up just three hits against the White Sox.

Worth noting

Since the start of the 2004 season the Orioles are 21-13 at Kauffman Stadium.

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