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Division leaders cross paths as Yanks, Royals clash
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The Yankees and Royals meet in a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium this weekend that will have some nostalgia to it.

Both teams come into the series in first place in their respective divisions, the first time that has happened since April 2009. The most famous Yankees-Royals meetings came when the teams clashed four times in five years from 1976-80 in the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees have had their way with the Royals going back to 2008. That’s the last time the Royals won a series from the Yankees, and it came to open that season.

The Royals open up an eight-game homestand with right-hander Chris Young getting the start against New York. Young, who makes his third start and ninth appearance of the season, has been superb of late, going 2-0 and allowing just two runs in his last 23 innings.

The Yankees will start Michael Pineda, who is 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA this season. He is coming off a start in which he piled up a career-high 16 strikeouts over seven innings in a win over the Orioles. The strikeout total tied for the second-highest by a Yankees pitcher

Three things to watch for:

• Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who takes an 11-game hitting streak into Friday’s game, has been a tough out after the sixth inning. He is batting .327 from the seventh inning on since the start of the 2013 season. He entered Thursday batting .378 (17-for-45) from the seventh on this season, fifth in the AL.

• Wade Davis, familiar to Yankees fans from his Tampa Bay days, is the winningest reliever in the AL over the past two seasons. The Royals right-hander has 11 wins since the start of the 2014 season, tied for the Major League lead during that time with Miami’s Bryan Morris and Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson.

• Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has his power stroke going this season. Teixeira entered Thursday fourth in the Major Leagues with 11 home runs. He is averaging a home run every 10 at-bats, third in the Majors.