White Sox-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals continue to vex the White Sox and another matchup with Jeremy Guthrie doesn't bode well for Chicago's chances of ending the frustrating season series on a high note either.

Guthrie will try to extend a dominant run against the White Sox when these teams close a three-game series Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

A 3-0 loss Wednesday dropped Chicago to 6-11 this season against Kansas City and reduced its lead in the AL Central to two games over Detroit.

Bruce Chen scattered five hits over 6 2-3 innings, Alex Gordon hit a two-run double and the White Sox went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position as its five-game winning streak was snapped. Chicago had the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth, but failed to score.

"We're going to have to win no matter what. We have to take care of our business," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's difficult when you play like this."

It's been particularly frustrating for Chicago (81-67) against Kansas City. The White So have averaged 2.9 runs in the season series while batting .169 with runners in scoring position.

Sending Guthrie (4-3, 3.13 ERA) to the mound would seem a good way for the Royals (67-81) to continue succeeding in the role of spoiler.

The right-hander hasn't given up an earned run in 23 2-3 innings over three starts against the White Sox this season, allowing 13 hits, striking out 15 and walking one.

He went eight innings in Chicago on Sept. 9, surrendering six hits in a 2-1, 10-inning victory.

"He just mixes pitches real well and got quick outs," Chicago's Gordon Beckham said. "He's got a lot of sink on the ball."

Guthrie has been a solid pick up for the Royals, who acquired him in a trade with Colorado in July. He is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last eight starts overall, with the Royals winning each game.

Alexei Ramirez is 1 for 25 against Guthrie, while Adam Dunn is 1 for 13 with seven strikeouts.

The White Sox counter with Francisco Liriano (6-11, 5.24).

Liriano snapped a four-start winless streak Saturday against Minnesota, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a two-run homer. It was the only hit he allowed over seven innings of a 5-3 win.

The left-hander was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA over his previous four appearances, including three starts, but struck out nine Saturday.

"He seemed like he was more under control, he wasn't as jumpy, he wasn't as quick,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. ''It looked like he slowed it down a little bit. He pitched really well. I was happy for him to come back here and do that. He had a great slider and a great changeup.''

Liriano is 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA in three starts against the Royals this year, the first two coming with the Twins. He allowed five runs, four walks and surrendered two homers over five innings of a 7-5 loss Sept. 7 while not earning a decision.

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