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Royals look to maintain Interleague mastery vs. Reds
Andy Call/Special to

The Royals, who ruled Interleague Play last season, will try to maintain their mastery of the National League when they host the Reds tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City was 15-5 against NL opponents last summer on its way to the World Series. Eight of the Royals’ next 11 games are Interleague contests, an important stretch for the club as it battles Detroit for control atop the American League Central.

The Reds will send ace right-hander Johnny Cueto (3-3, 2.93) to the mound, while Kansas City counters with righty Yordano Ventura (2-3, 5.36).

Cueto has been as good as advertised this season with an opponents’ batting average (.203) that ranked fourth among all NL starters entering play Sunday. He is 13-5 with a 2.58 ERA in 24 career Interleague starts. He is 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA in his last 14 games against AL foes. Cueto has started twice against the Royals (1-1, 3.75 ERA).

Ventura put up a quality start in all three of his 2014 Interleague starts, including a career-high 10-strikeout performance vs. San Diego.

Although he has allowed four or more runs four times in his last five starts, Ventura can be thankful he is pitching at Kauffman Stadium for the first time since April 18. He has a career 3.34 ERA at home with opponents hitting .239 against him.

Three things to know about this game

• Kansas City is 9-8 all-time vs. Cincinnati.

• The Reds’ 1999 Interleague sweep of the Royals was Cincinnati’s first appearance in Kansas City since the Red Stockings and the Cowboys of the American Association met in 1889.

• Omar Infante (3-for-11) is the only Royals player with more than six career at-bats vs. Cueto.