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Kansas City at Chicago

Venue: U.S. Cellular Field

Strong pitching is a big reason the Kansas City Royals are surging since the All-Star break.

Wade Davis would like to contribute to that success.

Davis will try to lead the Royals to a fifth straight win by ending his four-game slide Saturday night against the last-place Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City (49-51) has won six of eight since the break, and the rotation has been key with a 1.79 ERA in those victories and a 2.34 mark overall. James Shields kept the Royals hot Friday, tossing seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 win in the opener of this three-game set.

"I think we're playing some decent baseball right now," Shields said. "I think there's always room to improve, but right now we're on a little bit of a roll and it's nice. I think we're playing on all cylinders right now."

That's certainly not the case for Davis (4-9, 5.92 ERA), who has baseball's highest ERA and WHIP (1.81) of any pitcher with at least 97 innings. The right-hander is also 1-6 with a 5.88 ERA over his last 11 starts, losing four in a row with a 10.91 ERA while striking out 19 and walking 12 in 15 2-3 innings.

Davis' struggles showed few signs of ending in Monday's 9-2 loss to Baltimore. He surrendered four runs and seven hits with three walks while throwing 83 pitches in 2 2-3 innings.

"I'm just inconsistent," Davis said. "I've got to get deep in games. I fell behind in the count too much, a leadoff walk."

He's been very consistent against the White Sox, however, going 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in nine games - six starts. That includes allowing three runs in 13 innings without a decision in two starts this year.

The White Sox have dropped seven of 10, but Chris Sale (6-9, 2.81) is looking to win a fourth straight start at home against the Royals.

The left-hander has a 1.25 ERA while winning his last three against the AL Central rival on the South Side. He was dominant again April 1, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts before leaving with two outs in the eighth of a 1-0 win on opening day.

Sale hasn't received much help from the offense over his last nine outings anywhere. He has a 3.09 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 64 innings over that span, but is 1-7 since he's been backed by an average of 2.3 runs.

That was the case again in Monday's 7-3 loss to Detroit, as Sale allowed four runs - two earned - and fanned 11 in eight innings while backed by two runs as his defense committed three errors.

It wasn't his performance that put him in the spotlight, however, as much as his argument with pitching coach Don Cooper on the mound after being told to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera.

Sale later apologized to manager Robin Ventura.

"I was pretty embarrassed with how I reacted," Sale told the team's official website. "No matter how confident I am in myself for what I think might be right, at the end of the day, it's his call. And I have to respect that."

Sale has struggled against Billy Butler, who is 9 for 28 (.321) off him with three homers and one double.

Butler has two doubles and a solo homer while recording three straight multihit games.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Wade Davis, RHP
2013 stats
97.1 Innings Pitched 128.0
4-9 Wins-Losses 6-9
5.92 Earned Run Average 2.81
44 Walks 30
90 Strikeouts 142
97 Pitches Per Start 110
Career vs. opponent
42.1 Innings Pitched 69.2
3-1 Wins-Losses 5-5
1.91 Earned Run Average 2.58

Chris Sale, LHP
weather image  Cloudy. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Kansas City1st AL Central7461.548-4-6 L 3
Chi White Sox4th AL Central6275.453133-7 W 1
vs Chris Sale
vs Wade Davis
Gillaspie51010.200 Shop

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Kansas City
L. HochevarElbow
J. WillinghamBack
Chi White Sox
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F. PaulinoShoulder
Series Game Log
Mar 31CHWCHW 5-3Sale Nolasco 
Apr 2CHWCHW 7-6Belisario Deduno 
Apr 3CHWMIN 10-9Thielbar Lindstrom 
Jun 19MINMIN 4-2Fien Petricka 
Jun 20MINMIN 5-4Perkins Webb 
Jun 21MINMIN 4-3Correia Rienzo 
Jun 22MINMIN 6-5Hughes Danks 
Jul 24MINCHW 5-2Noesi Hughes 
Jul 25MINCHW 9-5Danks Correia 
Jul 26MINCHW 7-0Sale Darnell 
Jul 27MINMIN 4-3Burton Belisario 
Aug 1CHWCHW 10-8Guerra Fien 
Aug 2CHWMIN 8-6Pressly Belisario 
Aug 3CHWMIN 16-3Gibson Guerra 
Sep 2MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 3MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 12CHW 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 13CHW 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 14CHW 2:10 PM EDT