Thome was given the day off Saturday as Chicago (79-56) evened the series at a game apiece with a 5-3 victory. The designated hitter has missed six of the last eight games with a strained left hamstring.
Manager Ozzie Guillen chose Saturday as a day off for Thome in order to get him a full day of treatment after the slugger went 0-for-4 in Friday’s 7-5 loss.
“Having this day off and facing them (Sunday), hopefully those hours of not doing anything will help him,” Guillen said.
Guillen has been careful with Thome, who has 36 homers and a team-high 94 runs. Chicago is hoping the rest will allow Thome to be a regular in the lineup down the stretch.
“As we get going here and I react to the treatment and get better and get to a point where I can run 85 percent and maintain that and understand I can come out of the box and not have any problems, then it becomes a point of hey, it’s time to go in my mind,” Thome said.
Chicago remained one-half game ahead of Minnesota in the wild-card race with Saturday’s win. The White Sox pulled within 4 1/2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Tadahito Iguchi’s RBI double in the seventh inning Saturday snapped a 3-3 tie as Chicago avoided a third straight loss. Joe Crede added two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, who played errorless baseball after committing three miscues Friday.
Right fielder Jermaine Dye struck out in all four at-bats as his 12-game hitting streak came to an end. The MVP candidate is just 10-for-41 (.244) against Kansas City (50-87) this year.
Kansas City fell to 7-11 against Chicago, although it has won four of the last seven meetings entering Sunday’s season series finale.
Chicago’s Freddy Garcia (13-8, 5.05) will be trying to win three consecutive starts for the first time since June 16-28. He’s won two straight despite allowing five runs in each outing, including a seven-inning stint his last time out in a 12-9 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Garcia lost at Kansas City on Aug. 2, giving up five runs and 11 hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat. He fell to 4-4 with a 6.67 ERA in 10 starts at Kauffman Stadium, and blamed a lack of run support afterward.
“I never pitch good here, but today I thought I pitched good,” Garcia said. “In seven innings, we scored two runs. What can I say?”
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.63 ERA in his last three starts against the Royals.
Garcia will be opposed by Mark Redman (8-8, 5.47), who’s seeking to win consecutive starts for the first time since a five-game winning streak from June 4-25. Redman threw a five-hitter Tuesday for his second career shutout, 2-0 at Minnesota.
The left-hander credited the strong effort to a cutter he has been working on for about four weeks with pitching coach Bob McClure.
“The cutter just opened up the whole plate for him and made his changeup a little more effective and his breaking ball a little more effective,” catcher John Buck said. “Because he was pounding them inside with the cutter and changing speeds so well they couldn’t look out over the plate, and when he did miss over the plate they missed a couple.”
Redman is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in two starts against Chicago this year.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is 12-for-30 (.400) with seven RBIs against Redman and Thome has also had success against the left-hander, going 12-for-37 (.324).