(Sports Network) - U.S. Cellular Field is the site of today's finale of a three-game set between the Kansas City Royals and hometown Chicago White Sox, who'll be taking aim at an eighth consecutive victory.
The White Sox kept up their red-hot ways with a 5-1 win over the Royals last night, with Carlos Quentin belting two home runs and Gavin Floyd pitching into the eighth inning.
Floyd (5-7) won his third straight start and was charged with six hits and a run allowed with one walk and four strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. Quentin hit a solo homer and a two-run shot, while newly-named All-Star Paul Konerko drove in a run and scored once in the win.
"We're cooking right now and hopefully we can take the game [Sunday] and go into the All-Star break on a high note," said Floyd.
Chicago's surge has brought the club within a half-game of first-place Detroit in the American League Central standings entering today's play.
"They're on a good roll right now," said Kansas City manager Ned Yost about Chicago. "The key to that is their starting pitching. You don't reel off as many wins as they have without good starting pitching."
David DeJesus drove in the lone run for the Royals, who have dropped the first two of this set after sweeping Seattle in three games during their previous series. Brian Bannister (7-7) went six innings for Kansas City and gave up five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
With yesterday's victory, Chicago has taken the lead in the season series with Kansas City, having won six of the 11 matchups between the squads.
The Royals were slated to send out ace Zack Greinke for today's finale, but the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner was scratched shortly before the game due to discomfort in his throwing shoulder. In his place will be Anthony Lerew, who'll be taking the hill for the first time since a rough July 4 outing against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Lerew surrendered a season-high six runs over five innings in the 11-0 loss to the Angels, which dropped the right-hander to 1-2 on the season and raised his earned run average to 5.24. He had pitched very well in a matchup with the White Sox prior to that start, holding Chicago to a run and three hits through six innings to lead Kansas City to a 3-1 triumph on June 28.
The 27-year-old has made four starts since being promoted from Triple-A Omaha in mid-June and has lost both his assignments on the road. In addition to Tuesday's setback in Anaheim, Lerew was reached for four runs and 10 hits over 5 1/3 frames at Washington on June 22.
Because of the spot vacated by the injured Jake Peavy, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen needed to choose a fifth starter to fill out his rotation. Rather than rely on a current member of the bullpen to start, the White Sox have chosen to call up top prospect Daniel Hudson from the minors. A 23-year-old righty, Hudson will make his season debut today, and he went 11-4 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Charlotte.
Hudson made six appearances for the White Sox last season, including a pair of starts, and went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He pitched 1 1/3 innings against Kansas City in 2009 and permitted one earned run.