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KC@TB: Ervin hurls 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball

After receiving yet another strong starting pitching performance and making the most of their opportunities at the plate and on the bases late in Monday's narrow 2-1 victory at Cleveland, the Royals will try to jump above .500 on Tuesday night in the second of three games at Progressive Field.

Right-hander Ervin Santana will get the ball for the Royals as he opposes Indians righty Ubaldo Jimenez. Kansas City holds a half-game lead over Cleveland for second place in the American League Central standings.

Strong pitching is directing both teams right now. The Royals, who own the best ERA in the league, have compiled a 1.80 ERA in June. Meanwhile, in five of the Indians' last six games, they have held opponents to three runs or fewer and they've won four of those contests.

"We've been pitching pretty good lately, too," Indians center fielder Michael Bourn said. "I always think -- I mean, I don't want to put any pressure, but it's the truth -- pitching always wins. That's just the name of the game. It's been that way since day one and it's going to be that way until it's over with. That's just how it is. We have a good offense, too, but I always think that pitching wins."

Santana is 5-5 with a 2.74 ERA in his first year with the Royals. He's coming off back-to-back wins after a no-decision followed four straight losses. He held the Rays to one unearned run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings as the Royals cruised to a 10-1 victory last Thursday.

"I was very happy," Santana said after the game. "I just didn't think about having that many runs and tried to keep putting zeros on the board."

Santana allowed zero walks for the sixth time this year and has walked just six in 92 innings with 71 strikeouts.

Jimenez is 5-4 with a 4.79 ERA in 13 starts. He defeated Kansas City on April 29, allowing only three hits in seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

In his last start, Jimenez held the Rangers to one run in four innings, but threw 101 pitches. He is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three June outings.

"All night, I don't think he had his best command," manager Terry Francona said. "To his credit, I thought he competed. They were very patient, and for the most part he worked ahead, even though he didn't really command the ball. He kind of stayed away all night."

Royals: Holland secures win over Indians
Closer Greg Holland picked up his 15th save on Monday night -- allowing one hit with one strikeout. He's had 17 save opportunities this season.

The hard-throwing right-hander has logged 26 innings with 41 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. With his help, the Royals' bullpen has held opponents to just two earned runs in its last 35 1/3 innings

Indians: Swisher nursing shoulder injury
For the second straight game, outfielder Nick Swisher watched from the dugout on Monday night while recovering from a shoulder injury.

He received a cortisone shot on Monday, but has not been placed on the disabled list and is slated to return on Friday. Swisher missed three games from April 30 to May 3 and aggravated the injury on Saturday.

Before the injury, he was struggling through a bit of a slump -- going 6-for-64 in his last 15 games. On the season, Swisher is hitting .237 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs.

Worth noting
• Right-hander James Shields extended his streak to 28 games with six or more innings in Monday's no-decision.

• The Royals have scored at least once in the eighth inning or later in their last five games.

• The Indians fell to 26-14 when their starting pitchers go at least six innings.

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