Cueto opens series at Detroit as Royals draw close to division crown

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DETROIT — The Royals’ 10-game road trip continues Friday night at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers. Johnny Cueto will be on the mound for KC, while the Tigers go with Justin Verlander in the series opener.

The Royals (86-60) enter the weekend with an 11-game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. Their magic number to win their first division title since 1985 is six. If KC sweeps Detroit and Minnesota loses its next three, the Royals would clinch the division title as early as Sunday.

More importantly, the Royals are clinging to a two-game lead over the surging Blue Jays for homefield advantage in the postseason. Toronto hosts Boston this weekend.

Cueto is making his tenth start for the Royals. His last five starts have been dreadful. He’s 0-5 with 28 earned runs and eight home runs allowed in his last 26.1 innings. It’s the first time he’s lost five straight in his career.

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