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KC@CWS: Guthrie strikes out nine in six innings

Rain has spoiled much of the week for the Indians and Royals. So, with sunny skies in Sunday's forecast, the teams will play two at Kauffman Stadium.

The Indians were rained out in Chicago on Tuesday, had an off-day Thursday and were rained out again in Kansas City on Friday. Since April 18, the Royals have had two off-days and three postponements.

"It's a challenge," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "It's something you don't want to do, you want to get on a run, you don't want to play six games [seven, actually] in 12 days or whatever it's been. You want to go ahead and get some semblance of routine going every single day, but that's not been the case and you just adjust to it."

The twin bill against the Tribe will be the second consecutive Sunday with a doubleheader for Yost's squad. Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.86 ERA) will start the matinee for the Royals. He'll be opposed by Indians ace Justin Masterson (4-1, 1.85 ERA), who has been a steady force amid a rotation in flux. When Corey Kluber pitches Sunday's nightcap, he'll be the eighth hurler to start a game for the Tribe this season.

"I just think [Masterson] feels a responsibility of also being the leader of the staff," said manager Terry Francona. "I think he takes that very serious. I don't think it's a burden. I think he likes it."

Will Smith is slated to oppose Kluber in the second tilt, as the southpaw will be recalled as the club's 26th player.

"I could use Bruce [Chen] or [Luke Hochevar] but they're not built up for that right now," Yost said. "So we'll take advantage of the 26th man."

At Triple-A Omaha this year, Smith is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts. He has 31 strikeouts against six walks in 22 innings, allowing 22 hits including one home run.

Smith notched his first career win last season in Cleveland on May 29. He made three starts against the Indians in all, posting a 2-1 record and 5.63 ERA.

Indians: Masterson off to dominant start
• Last season, Masterson compiled an 11-15 mark and 4.93 ERA across 34 starts, a regression from 2011, when he went 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA and emerged as a front-of-the-rotation option for the Indians.

Francona credits Masterson's willingness to mix his pitches as a reason for his early-season success. In various outings last year, Masterson would throw sinking fastballs on nearly every pitch.

"He's got the two fastballs -- the two-seamer and the four-seamer, and they kind of do different things," Francona said. "He elevates. His breaking ball at times has been just outstanding, and he's even mixed in a changeup from time to time.

"I think the biggest thing is, when things start to [go bad], or he gets behind in the count, he doesn't just have to keep throwing one pitch. Last year, when you look at the video, there were times when he'd throw pitch after pitch after pitch, and kind of get in a rut. He's got different ways to kind of reel it back in."

• Kluber has been scheduled to start twice this season, but both games were washed away by rain. With him getting the call on Sunday night, the Indians will need a starter for Wednesday's affair against the Phillies.

"There's a lot of things to sift through," Francona said. "We're trying to figure out how best to do it. This works out. Putting Corey in that second game, it'll help free up some things. It gives us some options down the road if we need them."

Royals: Guthrie faces former squad in pursuit of record
• Guthrie can tie a 35-year-old record should he avoid a loss on Sunday. In doing so, he would match Paul Splittorff by going undefeated in a franchise-record 16 straight starts.

Over his last 15 outings dating back to last season, Guthrie is 7-0 with a 2.60 ERA. The Royals are 13-2 in those contests.

"The team winning is good for everybody," said Guthrie, who will face the team that drafted him on Sunday.

Cleveland selected Guthrie with the 22nd overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. He remembers every detail of his Major League debut, which came for the Indians against the White Sox on Aug. 28, 2004.

"It was in Cleveland," Guthrie said. "I pitched in relief, one inning. I struck a guy out, I hit a guy and I got a double play."

Worth noting
• Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2, 10.06 ERA) threw a bullpen session on Saturday. He has been throwing two side sessions between starts, instead of the typical one, to try to keep his mechanics straight.

• In his last four starts, Royals righty Ervin Santana is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA, having tossed 30 innings while allowing only four earned runs. Comments