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Preview: Royals, Cardinals Enter Game Three In Kansas City

(Sports Network) - The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia will try to continue his impressive rookie campaign, as St. Louis wraps up a three-game interleague set with the Kansas City Royals today at Kauffman Stadium.

Garcia, who missed most of last year due to Tommy John surgery, owns the majors' second-best ERA at 1.79 and the left-hander is gunning for his rookie- leading eighth win today.

In his most recent start on Tuesday, Garcia allowed three earned runs and six hits over six innings of a 9-4 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays. He improved to 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA in eight starts on the road. This will be his first career appearance against Kansas City.

Countering for the Royals will be Bruce Chen, who is trying to avoid dropping a third straight start. Chen recently suffered a 2-1 loss to Washington on Monday, surrendering only two earned runs and three hits in six innings of work. The left-hander, however, walked four and gave up two homers.

Chen is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA in eight lifetime appearances -- two starts -- versus the Cardinals, but hasn't faced them since 2003.

The Royals are hoping Chen can keep the ball in the park after St. Louis used homers from Colby Rasmus and Skip Schumaker to pick up a 5-3 win Saturday in the middle contest of this interleague series between the I-70 rivals.

Blake Hawksworth was charged with two runs -- one earned -- on two hits in five-plus innings of his second big league start for St. Louis, which stopped a two-game slide. Ryan Franklin got the last four outs to record his 15th save.

"It's nice to get five (innings). I was just efficient today, throwing strikes," Hawksworth said of his spot start. "That's the big key for me, if I get ahead of hitters and command my fastball with my changeup, it can be a successful outcome."

Kyle Davies (4-6) absorbed the loss after yielding five runs -- four earned -- on six hits over seven innings, while walking one and fanning two for the Royals, who have lost six of their last eight.

"You go into these games and you try to make the opposing team beat you and that's what he did today," said Royals' skipper Ned Yost in assessing Davies' outing. "He didn't walk a bunch of guys, he didn't give them free runs, they earned every one they got. It was a vast improvement."

David DeJesus went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two runs driven in for Kansas City, which slipped to 5-7 in games decided by two runs.

This is the first series between St. Louis and Kansas City since the Cardinals won five of six matchups a year ago, including a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium from June 19-21. The Cardinals have won eight of the past 10 meetings between the clubs.