The White Sox lost three straight to drop three games behind the Royals in the Central. Chicago’s pitching staff has given up 31 runs the last three games.
White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas homered for his 2,000th career hit, but it wasn’t enough as Chicago lost the series opener 13-9 Monday. Joe Crede and Jose Valentin also homered for the White Sox.
Chicago is hoping Loaiza can help it even the series. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA since the All-Star break to raise his record to 13-5 on the season. Loaiza’s 2.27 ERA tops the American League.
Loaiza has unimpressive career numbers against Kansas City, going 3-3 with a 6.38 ERA in eight starts. He’s 1-0 with 18 strikeouts and a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season.
The Royals snapped a five-game losing skid to the second-place White Sox and recaptured some of the momentum they lost after being swept by Chicago in a three-game series at home last week.
“When we had that series in Kansas City, I think what they thought was, ‘Now it’s our turn to step to the front and run with this,”’ Guiel said. “Tonight was such an important game because they felt like maybe they were going to overtake us.”
Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney rejoined the team Monday but was held out of the lineup after feeling stiffness in his upper back following a minor league rehabilitation game.
Manager Tony Pena said he didn’t know when Sweeney would be back in the lineup.
“When he got up he was fine, but as soon as he got to the airport he felt some of the stiffness and soreness in the same area,” Pena said.
STANDINGS: Royals - 1st place, AL Central. White Sox - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL Central.
ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Kyle Snyder (1-5, 4.75 ERA). Snyder is 0-1 with a 5.80 ERA in his last eight starts. The 25-year-old right-hander has been victimized by home runs. Snyder gave up three—leading to five runs—on Thursday, but he didn’t the decision as the Royals lost to the White Sox 8-6. Snyder allowed seven hits in seven innings.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Loaiza (13-5, 2.27 ERA). Loaiza failed to earn a decision in his last outing. The veteran righty went seven innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out seven as the White Sox went on to beat Kansas City 8-6 on Thursday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Sweeney, .321 avg.; Carlos Beltran, 16 HRs, 67 runs and 30 SBs.; Raul Ibanez, 68 RBIs. White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .314 avg. and 69 runs; Thomas, 26 HRs; Carlos Lee, 76 RBIs and 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: tied, 5-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - 1B Sweeney was hitting a team-high .321 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 60 games before the injury. He has missed the last 43 games. … SS Berroa is batting .359 (23-for-64) with six home runs and 19 RBIs since the All-Star break. … OF Beltran ranks second in the AL with 30 SBs. White Sox - 2B Roberto Alomar is batting .339 (20-for-59) with 13 runs scored since the All-Star break. … OF Lee homered twice, and 1B Paul Konerko added a two-run home run against RHP Snyder on Thursday. … RHP Loaiza is 7-3 with a 2.67 ERA at U.S. Cellular Field this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 28-23 on the road; White Sox - 33-20 at home.