Royals-White Sox Preview

The Associated Press

If the Chicago White Sox are going to challenge for the AL Central title, they'll likely have to start playing better at home. They can follow the lead of Adam Dunn, who has found his hitting stroke at U.S. Cellular Field after a slow start there.

Dunn and the White Sox go for a third straight victory when they take on the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

Chicago (15-17) went 36-45 on the South Side last season - when it finished 16 games out of first place - and it's been no better at home this year, dropping nine of 14.

"To be a good team, you have to play well at home," Dunn told the White Sox's official website following an 8-1 victory at Cleveland on Wednesday. "Hopefully, we can start doing that Friday and keep the momentum going."

Dunn hit a team-best three home runs on the just-completed 3-4 trip, and his recent success at home appears to give him a good chance to keep his own momentum going. The veteran slugger has batted .385 (5 for 13) with three homers and five RBIs in his last four home games after hitting .194 with no homers in his first 10 at U.S. Cellular Field in 2012.

Dunn needs one home run to match last year's total of 11.

"I don't feel bad, but I don't feel like I'm on fire by any means,'' said Dunn, who will tie former White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk for 68th all-time (376) with his next homer.

Though he can match that record Friday, Dunn is also one game shy of becoming the second player since 1921 to strike out in 37 consecutive contests. Pitcher Bill Stoneman struck out in 37 straight spanning the 1971 and '72 seasons.

Dunn is 2 for 8 with a homer off Felipe Paulino (1-0, 0.00 ERA), scheduled to make his second start of the season Friday. The right-hander came off the disabled list to throw six shutout innings in a 5-1 victory over New York on Saturday.

The Royals (11-19) will be going for a third straight victory after defeating Boston 4-3 on Wednesday. Kansas City is 8-5 since a 12-game losing streak.

"That's the first time in a long time I felt like we were firing on all cylinders," manager Ned Yost told the Royals' official website after the win over the Red Sox.

It could be tough for the Royals to match their longest winning streak of the season as they'll face Gavin Floyd (2-3, 3.03) in the series opener.The right-hander has posted a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts, striking out 21 and walking three.

Floyd has gone 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last four outings versus Kansas City.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, batting .111 in the past 11 games, was not in the lineup for the first time this season Wednesday. He should start Friday after coming in as a defensive replacement in the finale against Boston.

Hosmer hit .344 with three homers and six RBIs against Chicago last season.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas is expected to start Friday after sitting out the last game with a sore hamstring. He batted .125 (4 for 32) as the Royals took five of nine at U.S. Cellular Field in 2011.

Royals second baseman Johnny Giavotella, called up from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday, hit .421 (8 for 19) in five games at Chicago last season.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko had team highs of five homers and 14 RBIs in the 2011 season series, but Chicago dropped 11 of 18.

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