(Sports Network) - White Sox starter Mark Buehrle has lost just once in his last five starts. That setback came versus the Royals and the left-hander can get a measure of revenge tonight when Chicago opens a three-game series versus Kansas City at U.S. Cellular Field.
Buehrle has pitched to a 2.70 earned run average over his last five outings and dropped a 3-1 test to the Royals on June 28 after allowing three runs on 10 hits and five walks over 6 1/3 innings. He has now lost both of his starts this year versus the Royals, allowing eight earned runs over 12 1/3 innings of work.
The 31-year-old got a little more support in his last outing on Sunday versus Texas as he again gave up three runs but this time pitched seven innings while yielding just five hits and no walks. Buehrle improved to 7-7 on the season with a 4.53 ERA.
If Buehrle can come close to matching John Danks' gem from Thursday afternoon, the White Sox should have an excellent shot at winning a sixth straight game. Danks took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Thursday's 1-0 finale with the Angels but had to settle for a two-hit shutout, the first of his career.
"As weird as it sounds, it was pretty fortunate that it was a 1-0 game because it forces you not to get ahead of yourself," Danks said about his focus during the start. "You gotta look at the job ahead and win the ballgame. Throwing a no-hitter, or whatever, the main thing was to win the ballgame."
Paul Konerko knocked in the lone run on a sac fly in the first inning for the White Sox, who swept the four-game set with the Angels and are just a half- game back of the Tigers for first place in the American League Central thanks to a 22-5 record since June 9.
The Royals, who took two of three from the White Sox from June 28-30, are also rolling, having won six of their last seven games. They are coming off a three-game sweep of the Mariners, their first on the road against Seattle since 1995, and are in position to win four straight for the first time this season.
Alberto Callaspo had a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 7-3 victory, while Mitch Maier added a solo shot in the frame. Billy Butler also went deep, starter Kyle Davies allowed three runs over six innings and Victor Marte earned the win in relief.
"We won that game in about nine different ways tonight," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Defensively, Marte did a great job of shutting down the bases loaded. We had a time or two where Davies pitched out of some big jams. He actually threw the ball really well tonight."
Jose Guillen did not play in Wednesday's finale due to a left quadriceps strain suffered on Tuesday that has him day-to-day.
Kansas City might not need Guillen tonight given how surprisingly well Bruce Chen has thrown this season. The 33-year-old journeyman has won two straight and four of his last six starts, giving him a 4-2 mark and 3.66 ERA in seven starts since replacing the injured Gil Meche in the rotation.
Chen has allowed only five runs over his last three outings, a span of 18 1/3 innings, and gave up just one on two hits over 7 1/3 innings versus the Angels on Saturday, a victory in which he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning.
"I kept the ball down and had command of all my pitches. The defense made some great plays. Everyone wants to throw a no-hitter but I know it's hard. I really feel good and I'm putting everything together," Chen said.
The left-hander faced the White Sox once in relief this year, recording two outs without allowing a run, and is 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA in eight career meetings with Chicago, three of those starts.
The Royals have won five of nine versus the White Sox this year, but lost two of three at Chicago on May 3-5.