(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox hope to stay in the hunt for AL Central bragging rights when they begin a three-game series tonight against the division-rival Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The White Sox are third in the division standings at 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota, with Detroit just a half-game off the pace, and saw a season-high 11-game winning streak come to an end in Sunday's finale of a three-game series versus the crosstown rival Cubs.
In yesterday's 8-6 loss to the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field, John Danks was rocked for six runs and seven hits in five innings to absorb the loss. Paul Konerko homered and both Juan Pierre and Carlos Quentin had two RBI in defeat.
"It was a good interleague run for us. We got back into position to compete the rest of the summer," Konerko said after the Pale Hose went 15-3 in interleague play.
The White Sox went 5-1 on the six-game homestand and will try to stretch their road winning streak to seven games Monday night. They will send Mark Buehrle to the mound tonight with hopes of the left-hander posting his fourth straight win. He won his third consecutive outing last Wednesday versus Atlanta and held the Braves to a pair of runs on nine hits over six innings.
Buehrle evened his 2010 mark at 6-6 in 15 starts to go along with a 4.60 earned run average. The lefty, who is 2-4 in seven road starts this season, hopes to rebound against a Royals team that beat him back on May 14, when he was hammered for six runs -- five earned -- in six innings of a 6-1 loss. He is 20-10 with a 3.64 ERA in 44 career games (42 starts) in this series.
Kansas City has won three of its last four games and took two of three meetings versus St. Louis over the weekend. In Sunday's 10-3 victory over the Cardinals, Wilson Betemit hit a three-run homer and Jason Kendall collected three hits with four RBI for KC, which got five innings of two-run ball out of winning pitcher Bruce Chen.
"It's hot and I'm throwing like 64 pitches in the first two innings. I say, 'You know what? I'll give them everything I have from now on.' It worked out real well," said Chen.
David DeJesus had three hits and two runs scored in a winning effort.
The Royals, who are 9 1/2 games off the lead in the AL Central, will hand the ball to Anthony Lerew in tonight's series opener. Lerew is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts and dropped his most recent outing on Tuesday at Washington. In the 4-3 loss at Nationals Park, Lerew yielded all four runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Lerew, a right-hander, has never faced the White Sox in his career.
The 2010 season series between the White Sox and Royals is tied at three games apiece. Kansas City won two of three matchups at home from May 14-16.