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DET@KC: Chen strikes out seven over seven innings

The Royals can't pack their bags fast enough.

Kansas City has dropped its first nine home games -- 10 games in a row overall. The Royals have a final shot in April to snap their home-field drought on Monday against the Blue Jays. If they can't, the Royals will set a franchise record for consecutive home losses.

"They're good enough to find a way to break out of it," manager Ned Yost said. "When they do, they're going to score a bunch of runs and this streak will be way in the rear-view mirror."

Left-hander Bruce Chen will toe the rubber for Kansas City on Monday and will oppose right-hander Brandon Morrow.

The Blue Jays have taken the first three of their four-game set at Kauffman Stadium. Before that, the Tigers swept a three-game series, despite outscoring Kansas City by only four runs. The Indians started the Royals' home-field misery with 32 runs in a sloppy three-game sweep.

"We've shown flashes here and there, we just haven't put it together yet," center fielder Mitch Maier said. "It's going to come."

The Royals' final task on their homestand will be to solve Morrow, who has been a bit of an enigma this season. He allowed just one hit and two unearned runs in seven innings against Cleveland in his first start of the year. Morrow lasted another seven frames, yielding four runs, against Baltimore in his second outing. Then, on Wednesday, he surrendered six runs on eight hits in six innings of a 12-2 loss to Tampa Bay -- giving up three home runs.

"Brandon had powerful stuff," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said following Morrow's last start. "[But] when he made a mistake out over the plate, he wasn't able to get away with too many mistakes. With first-pitch fastballs, they found their way back to the middle and were squared up for extra bases. He was up in the zone a little bit more tonight that the first outing in Cleveland."

Blue Jays: Toronto turns to Cordero as closer
• Francisco Cordero notched his first save of the season on Sunday, though he allowed a run on two hits and a walk. It was the right-hander's first save opportunity since the Blue Jays placed Sergio Santos on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

Cordero now has 328 career saves. He recorded 37 saves last season with the Reds.

"To be able to recruit and bring in and sign Francisco Cordero, it certainly adds a lot of experience, a lot of past save history," Farrell said. "And in a case like now when we've got to take a little bit of a time out with Sergio, to have that veteran presence and that success down there is a little bit of a comfort. But it also gives us a bona fide closer that we can build and bridge to to close out games."

• Toronto turned two more double plays in Sunday's 5-3 win over Kansas City, raising its league-leading total to 24 this season. On Saturday, the Blue Jays turned four double plays in a 9-5 win.

Royals: Betancourt to return to leadoff spot
• Yost said Yuniesky Betancourt will bat first on Monday, after hitting fifth on Sunday. Betancourt hit leadoff for the first time in his career on Saturday.

"I liked Yuni in the 'one' [Saturday]; he's swinging the bat good," Yost said. "I liked the way the lineup played out [Saturday] and against right-handed pitching, we'll get back to it [Monday]."

Betancourt went 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot on Saturday. He went hitless with a walk in four plate appearances on Sunday. Overall, the second baseman is batting .324 with one homer.

Center fielder Jason Bourgeois batted first on Sunday and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

• Bruce Chen has fanned Toronto slugger Jose Bautista twice in three hitless at-bats. Overall, the southpaw is 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 career outings against the Blue Jays.

Worth noting
• Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero has won three consecutive starts, pitching at least eight innings in two of the outings.

• Toronto moved into a first-place tie in the American League East with the Yankees, who were rained out on Sunday. Comments