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STL@KC: Ventura allows two runs over six in return

After skipping a start to give his sore elbow extra rest, Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura returned with a victory over the Cardinals on Thursday.

Ventura went six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks in the outing, and there has been no indication that he's enduring any more problems with his pitching elbow, diagnosed with VEO (valgus extension overload) after being taken out early in his start on May 26.

Rain washed out the Royals and the Yankees on Monday night, giving the Royals two open dates this week, and Royals manager Ned Yost was asked if he considered giving Ventura another precautionary break.

"Yeah, for a split second," Yost said.

But Ventura is on for Wednesday's tilt with the Indians, a team he faced in his Major League debut last Sept. 17. He gave up just one run in 5 2/3 innings and was hung with a no-decision in that game.

Ventura (3-5, 3.41) will be making his 12th start of the season. After throwing six quality starts in his first eight outings, he has a 6.75 ERA in his last three appearances. Still a rookie, he has learned quickly that he needs to continually adjust in the Major League game.

"It changes so fast, every day you have to make adjustments and more adjustments," Ventura said.

Trevor Bauer will start for the Indians. Inserted into the rotation on May 20, the right-hander has posted a 4.76 ERA in the four starts since his last callup, fanning 27 while walking just nine.

The team has generally been pleased with the improved command and velocity Bauer has displayed this season. However, he did struggle with location his last time on the mound, allowing four runs in a 6 1/3-inning no-decision against the Rangers.

"Last outing he probably got a little conscious about pitching in a little too much," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's something we do stress a lot, because I think it opens up the plate, especially with some of the bigger guys because if you let them get their arms extended they hurt you."

Indians: Allen acing the ninth
The Tribe might not have a designated closer, but that hasn't kept Cody Allen from becoming comfortable pitching in the ninth inning.

In his last five appearances, the right-handed Allen has recorded five saves while registering six strikeouts and holding his opponents hitless. Still, the Indians feel that their current setup -- a closer-by-committee situation that has featured Allen, Bryan Shaw and Scott Atchison at the back end -- gives them their best chance at holding matchup advantages late in the game.

"We try to let them face the most amount of guys [who match up well], or, if we're trying to put an inning out, who could best put it out? And then we go from there," Francona said.

The Indians bullpen owns a 3.15 ERA on the season after the group allowed three runs in three innings against the Royals on Tuesday night.

Royals: Yost resists lineup changes
Kansas City's skipper has been frank about his hesitance to frequently move players up and down in the batting order this season.

Yost believes that keeping his hitters comfortable at the plate -- especially the younger ones -- trumps juggling the lineup and potentially forcing a player to change his mentality in the batter's box.

"When you start moving a lineup around, you've got guys that think they're 4-hitters or 2-hitters and they come in and they're hitting seventh and they feel like they've got to get more hits to get back," Yost said. "You stay with it as long as you can. When you get to a point where you need to make changes, you make changes."

The Royals have seen more production on offense in recent days. They have gone 8-4 in their last 12 games, plating an average of 4.7 runs during that span. They had scored 3.8 runs per game prior to that stretch.

"They've done a better job on their approach, getting pitches up and putting good swings on it," Yost said. "When you've got a team you believe in, there's a point where it's going to click."

Worth noting
• Tribe infielder Lonnie Chisenhall, who went 5-for-5 with three home runs and nine RBIs against the Rangers on Monday, said he will donate the bat he used in that game to the Hall of Fame. He is the first player in team history to record that many hits, home runs and RBIs in a single game.

• Indians pitcher Zach McAllister (back) went six innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, allowing two runs on three hits while fanning six. Francona expects the right-hander to rejoin the team during its upcoming road series in Boston.

• Kansas City's current two-game series with the Indians begins a nine-game stretch against the American League Central. The Royals next go to Chicago for three weekend games and then to Detroit for four games, including a makeup of an April 4 rainout.

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