With the offense of the Kansas City Royals already struggling, the last thing they need is for their pitching to break down.
After being routed in the series opener, the Royals try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Saturday against the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Kansas City (34-37) has totaled nine runs in the last four games, including seven during the three-game skid. The Royals had won 11 of 13, scoring three runs or fewer in six of the final nine games of that stretch, but the staff posted a 1.69 ERA and yielded more than three runs only once.
However, their pitchers have allowed a total of 19 runs in the past three games, walking 12 batters and striking out 20. Jeremy Guthrie was charged with six runs in 2 1-3 innings in Friday's 9-1 loss to Chicago.
"We got beat up pretty good," manager Ned Yost said. "It wasn't a game that we gave away."
The White Sox (30-41), who won for the second time in nine games, pounded out 11 hits while scoring more than five runs for the third time in 23 contests.
"You could see it, a little sigh of relief," said Chicago slugger Adam Dunn, who drove in a run for the third straight game. "You get a couple hits and you get a little excitement on the bench."
The Royals were held to Eric Hosmer's homer and two other hits over eight innings by Chicago's Hector Santiago.
Kansas City hopes scheduled starter Wade Davis (4-5, 5.18 ERA) can improve on his 3-1 record and 2.01 ERA in five starts against the White Sox. The right-hander gave up a run in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning victory over Chicago on May 5.
He allowed two runs in six innings Sunday in a 5-3 victory over his former Tampa Bay team for his first win in a month.
"(Sunday) was just a matter of taking a deep breath and keeping the ball down, getting some quick outs," said Davis, 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his last three starts.
Scheduled Chicago starter Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.86) allowed three runs in five innings against Davis in May. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts against the Royals.
He has not factored in the decision in four straight starts and is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in the last five. Quintana was pulled Monday after throwing 104 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, allowing two runs, five hits and three walks in a 4-2 victory at Houston.
Jeff Francoeur is 6 for 8 with a homer against Quintana and enters with a hit in three straight games following a 1-for-14 slump.
Teammate Mike Moustakas got the night off Friday, but he's 6 for 12 with two home runs versus Quintana. Despite hitting .195, Moustakas is 4 for 8 in his last two contests.
Dayan Viciedo had a three-run homer Friday and Alexei Ramirez, batting .386 in his last 10 games, added two hits as the White Sox won for the third time in 18 road contests.
Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham are a combined 0 for 27 against Davis.