If the Royals are going to reach the postseason for the first time since 1985, they'll need to take advantage of matchups against losing teams the rest of the way. They took a step in the right direction this week, following up a seven-game losing streak by sweeping the Twins. They have won five in a row.
Kansas City, trailing four teams for the second American League Wild Card spot, will ask Ervin Santana to set the right tone on Friday night in the first of three games with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Santana -- 8-7 with a 3.21 ERA -- is coming off an uncharacteristic outing against the Nationals on Sunday, when he gave up four runs on 11 hits, including three homers. The veteran right-hander was also struck by a third-inning comebacker off the bat of Denard Span, but he stayed in the game.
"He threw the ball really well," manager Ned Yost said of Santana. "I hated that he ended up giving up the tying runs so he didn't get the benefit of getting the win."
Wins have been elusive of late for the Blue Jays, who have lost eight of their last 11 and 12 of their last 18, but they enter Friday's matchup coming off a series win over the Yankees.
In his last start, against Houston, Buehrle worked eight innings and allowed just one run on seven hits and two walks, adding seven strikeouts. The win was Buehrle's 10th, giving him double-digit victories in each of his past 13 seasons.
Mark Buehrle is 10-7 with a 4.08 ERA on the season, but since May 11, he's 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA and has lowered his overall ERA to 4.08 from 7.02. The veteran lefty hasn't lost since July 20 against Tampa Bay.
"It's [satisfying], but at the same time, I'd rather forgo some of the personal stuff to be in a better position than we're at right now," Buehrle said after his last start. "Right now, I feel like I'm having a decent season, but I still have six or seven starts left, so I have to go out there and finish strong and try to get as many wins as I can."
Blue Jays: Delabar strong in rehab outing
Right-hander Steve Delabar took a big first step toward his return to the Blue Jays with a scoreless inning of relief while pitching in the Rookie Gulf Coast League on Wednesday.
Delabar, a first-time All-Star this season, landed on the 15-day disabled list and was temporarily shut down due to right shoulder inflammation on Aug. 4, but he had been dealing with soreness for several weeks before the decision.
Prior to the All-Star break, Delabar was 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 42 innings. In 7 2/3 innings after the break, he went 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA, a 1.70 WHIP and 17 strikeouts.
Royals: Moustakas expected to return
Third baseman Mike Moustakas will be in the lineup on Friday night at Toronto, Yost said, after missing all three games in Minnesota due to a case of strep throat.
"Moose will be a go," Yost said. "He says he feels much better."
Moustakas is 8-for-20 (.400) with multi-hits in three of the six games since coming back from a left calf injury on Aug. 17.
• In six games with the Blue Jays, Ryan Goins is batting .455 (10-for-22), and he has recorded a hit in each of those contests.
• Royals catcher Salvador Perez has four home runs in his last five games.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.