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07/22/07 7:47 PM ET

Royals head home hoping to stay hot

Kansas City (43-54) vs. New York (51-46), 7:10 p.m. CT

The stretch doesn't get any easier for Kansas City. After going 5-4 on a road trip through Cleveland, Boston and Detroit, the Royals will face the red-hot Yankees to start a four-game series Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

New York, which pounded Tampa Bay 21-4, on Sunday afternoon, will face K.C. for the first time this season. The Royals, who are tied with the White Sox for fourth place in the American League Central-- the latest they have been out of the cellar since 2003 -- will try to continue to play excellent baseball. They are 14-8 in their last 22 games and have won five of seven series.

They also have won two straight series against Boston and Detroit, the two top teams in the AL.

"To come in and win two series against two first-place teams, we buckled down and guys came alive at the right times," Brian Bannister said.

Odalis Perez and Scott Elarton will take the ball in the first two games of the series. Elarton, who is 2-3 with a 9.17 ERA, will make his first start since June 13. He has been rehabbing a sore foot.

Pitching matchup
KC: LHP Odalis Perez (5-8, 5.84 ERA)
Perez gave up five runs in five innings to the Red Sox on Wednesday, continuing a string of poor outings over his past three starts. Five or six innings is about all the Royals can expect to get from Perez these days -- he's made it through seven just twice in 20 starts. That means the bullpen is usually in for a workout every time Perez pitches.

NYY: RHP Roger Clemens (2-4, 3.88 ERA)
Clemens wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be in his last start, against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, but he recorded outs when he needed them in a 99-pitch effort. The Rocket allowed nine hits but just one run over six innings, striking out three and walking one along the way to a no-decision. In 33 starts against the Royals, Clemens has compiled a 20-6 record and 2.15 ERA.

Player to watch
Mark Grudzielanek is 7-for-22 (.314) with three doubles against Clemens lifetime.

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Up next
• Tuesday: Royals (Scott Elarton, 2-3, 9.17) vs. Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 10-5, 3.44), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Royals (Gil Meche, 7-6, 3.63) vs. Yankees (Mike Mussina, 4-7, 4.97), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Royals (Jorge De La Rosa, 7-10, 5.61) vs. Yankees (Kei Igawa, 2-2, 6.67), 7:10 p.m. CT

Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.