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Danks Faces Greinke In Key AL Central Game For Sox

(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox will try to avoid dropping a fifth straight series, as they bring to a close a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals today at Kauffman Stadium.

After Friday's opener was washed out, the White Sox and Royals split a pair of extra-inning games on Saturday.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Yuniesky Betancourt tied the contest in the seventh with a grand slam and won the game in the 11th with a run-scoring single, as Kansas City rallied past Chicago, 6-5.

Betancourt finished a triple shy of the cycle and became just the second Kansas City player to hit three grand slams in a season. Danny Tartabull accomplished the feat in 1988.

Wilson Betemit added a solo homer for the Royals, who picked up their fourth win in five games by winning the opener Philip Humber, making his second career start and first since 2007, gave up five runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 frames. Jesse Chavez (2-1) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.

Gordon Beckham drove in two runs for the White Sox, while Freddy Garcia allowed four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Chris Sale (0-1) was charged with one run over 1 2/3 frames to suffer the first loss of his MLB career. Sale was drafted 13th overall by the White Sox in this year's draft.

In the second game, Juan Pierre drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the top of the 10th inning, as the White Sox defeated the City Royals, 7-6, to earn a split.

Ramon Castro hit a two-run homer to help the White Sox take the second part of the doubleheader, which ended after 1 a.m. local time. Chicago, which had lost nine of its last 12 games, is four contests behind the Twins in the AL Central standings.

Tony Pena made his first major league start after scheduled starter Edwin Jackson was a late scratch. Jackson threw seven pitches on Friday night before the game was rained out. Pena, making his 286th career appearance, gave up four runs on five hits over seven frames. J.J. Putz (6-5) got the win despite giving up a run on two hits over two innings of relief.

"They always play us tough, especially here," Pierre said. "To squeeze out a win looms big because everybody knows the significance of the division."

Gregor Blanco hit a solo homer for the Royals, who had won four of five. Billy Butler drove in two runs and scored a run, while Betancourt tied the game in the ninth with an RBI single.

Bryan Bullington, coming off his first major league win, allowed six runs on 11 hits over five-plus innings. Greg Holland (0-1) gave up one run on three hits over two frames of relief to take the loss.

Zack Greinke gets the nod for the Royals today and he has won five of his last eight starts and eight of his past 12 at home. The right-hander most recently defeated Cleveland on Tuesday, allowing one earned run and five hits over six innings of a 2-1 victory.

The 2009 AL Cy Young award winner has made 23 career appearances -- 20 starts -- versus the White Sox, posting a 6-10 mark with a 4.35 ERA. Greinke last faced Chicago on June 30th, when he gave up six earned runs and 10 hits over eight innings. He still earned the home victory in a 7-6 triumph.

Countering for the White Sox is John Danks, who was roughed up for five earned runs and a career-high 11 hits in seven innings of a 7-6 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday. He had allowed just two earned runs over his prior two starts, spanning 15 innings.

The left-hander is making his eighth career start against Royals, having gone 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA previously versus them. Danks hasn't faced Kansas City this season, but is 2-0 with a 1.63 ERA in four lifetime starts at Kauffman Stadium.

The White Sox have prevailed in eight of 14 meetings between these divisional foes so far this season, but have dropped two of three tilts in each of their two previous visits to Kauffman Stadium in 2010. Chicago is just 3-7 over its last 10 games played with the Royals in Kansas City.