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Sox Return Home Needing Wins Over Royals

(Sports Network) - After a great start to their most recent road trip, the White Sox return home licking their wounds a little bit.

After falling further behind the top spot in the American League Central, Chicago hopes to get its upcoming nine-game homestand off to a winning start this evening in the opener of a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox began their swing with three-game sweeps in Cleveland and Boston before taking the opener of a four-game set in Detroit on Monday. However, they were then outscored 20-5 in losing the series' final three games, including a 6-3 setback in Thursday's finale that dropped Chicago six games behind idle Minnesota for first place in the division.

After plating just a run in each of their first two losses, Alex Rios matched that total on his own with a two-run homer, but Detroit's Rick Porcello threw eight strong frames to defeat Chicago.

"He was hitting his spots," Rios said of Porcello. "He was using his slider a lot and we didn't do what we had to do."

Gavin Floyd was knocked around for 13 hits -- all singles -- in six-plus innings, while all but one of the six runs he allowed were earned.

Mark Buehrle will try to do better on the hill tonight and duplicating his last start against the Royals would accomplish that. The 31-year-old lost his first two starts this year to Kansas City before hurling seven scoreless innings of six-hit ball at home on July 9 in a victory, the 21st of his career versus the Royals.

Buehrle hasn't factored into the decision of his last two starts and his last outing came on Sunday versus Boston. The lefty was tagged for four runs on 10 hits over seven innings and is 12-10 with a 3.99 earned run average this year.

Kansas City's Bruce Chen took the loss opposite Buehrle back in July and seeks redemption tonight. The fellow southpaw lasted just 3 1/3 innings on that day, yielding three runs and six hits to remain winless in his career (0-3) against the White Sox with a 5.28 ERA against them.

Chen had alternated wins and losses over his previous five starts before not factoring into the decision of his club's 6-4 setback to the Tigers on Saturday. The 33-year-old gave up four runs over just 4 2/3 innings, marking the second time in his last three starts that he failed to get out of the fifth inning.

In 28 games (18 starts) this year Chen is 9-7 with a save and 4.89 ERA.

The Royals aided to the White Sox current division deficit as they were swept in three games by the Twins, culminating with Wednesday's 4-3 loss.

Zack Greinke threw no-hit ball over the first 4 2/3 innings, but ended up allowing four runs and five hits over an eight-inning complete-game effort.

"Overall, I pitched all right," Greinke told the Royals' website. "I definitely wasn't pitching good enough to do a no-hitter. That'd had to been pretty much all them messing up, not really me doing it."

Brayan Pena drove in two runs, including one in the ninth, while Alex Gordon also had an RBI in that final frame to account for the one-run loss, Kansas City's sixth setback in its last seven games.

The White Sox have taken five of six at home this year over the Royals, giving them a slight 8-7 edge in the overall season series.