It’s been four years since the Kansas City Royals weren’t the worst team in the AL Central this late in the season.
With a win Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City can make its way out of the division cellar.
The Royals (34-46) won their fifth straight game Friday, defeating the White Sox (33-43) 8-1 win over the White Sox in the opener of this three-game series. Shane Costa and Esteban German drove in two runs apiece to lead Kansas City to its first five-game winning streak since June 11-16, 2005.
The Royals haven’t won six in a row since they opened the 2003 season 9-0. Kansas City finished that season in third place in the AL Central - the last time the Royals weren’t in last place this late in their schedule.
Kansas City would move percentage points ahead of the White Sox - who are only two years removed from a championship - for fourth place in the Central with a win in this contest.
“You never would have thought something like that, them being the 2005 World Series champions,” said Costa, who went 2-for-4 in his first multihit game of the season and raised his batting average 21 points to .203. “It just shows this team’s making its way and doing some things.”
The White Sox seem far removed from their World Series title. They came into the series having swept a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but are 9-18 this month and 10-24 since May 23.
Chicago had just five hits on Friday.
“To me, what’s the difference between last place and first place?” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Maybe pride? Nobody wants to finish last, especially with the ball club we have. How much money we’re spending with this ballclub, it shouldn’t finish last.”
Chicago looks to bounce back against Odalis Perez (4-7, 5.92 ERA), who takes the mound for the Royals. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 6.66 ERA in five starts this month.
Perez pitched five effective innings on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers, though, allowing two runs and seven hits in a game the Royals went on to win 4-3 in 11 innings.
He is 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox.
Chicago starter John Danks (4-6, 4.78) snapped a personal five-start winless streak Monday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The left-hander allowed four runs and four hits while walking four in five innings, but the White Sox won 5-4.
Danks, however, failed to last six innings for the sixth consecutive outing.
The rookie has never faced the Royals.
Guillen said Friday that right fielder Jermaine Dye will may miss the rest of this weekend’s series with a strained left quadriceps. He was scheduled to have a planned pregame workout on Friday, but the rainy weather prevented it and he missed his seventh straight game.
Dye is hitting .286 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs.