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MIN@KC: Guthrie strikes out seven to blank the Twins

Losers in six of their last eight games, including three straight, the Royals are holding on for dear life in the American League Central and the Wild Card race.

With a loss on Tuesday night to the White Sox, the Royals sit 8 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the division and 6 1/2 games back of a Wild Card berth.

The Royals will look to get back on track as they battle it out with the White Sox on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

"They keep plugging along. In Detroit, we went in there for a big five-game series last week," Royals manager Ned Yost said before Tuesday's game. "It wasn't great, it wasn't ideal, but it wasn't doomsday either. I'm proud of that. We still have six big games against them and 39 games left to make something happen."

Jeremy Guthrie (12-9, 4.15 ERA) will be on the hill for Kansas City looking to snap a two-game losing streak. On Thursday against the Tigers, Guthrie allowed four runs on a career-high 13 hits.

If Guthrie can record his 13th win, he would become the first Royals pitcher since Zack Greinke in 2009 to win that many games.

He'll be up against Chicago right-hander Andre Rienzo, who is still looking for his first Major League win in his fifth career start.

He almost got it on Thursday against the Twins, allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings. However, Minnesota played spoiler with a late rally to get a 4-3 win.

"It was a good performance," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after Rienzo's outing. "It was just one of those -- you feel bad for him because he's pitched pretty good and hasn't really had anything to show for it. They scratched away and end up beating you."

While Rienzo would have liked to get that first win under his belt, he's focused more on what he can do for the team.

"The team tried. I tried," Rienzo said. "If the team loses, the team follows. If the team's winning, the team follows. I believe in the guys and the guys tried hard to get a win. I tried hard to give [us] a chance to win. If one [person] loses, all the team loses. Next time, maybe I'll be better and help the team more."

White Sox: Keppinger out of lineup
Third baseman Jeff Keppinger was a late scratch from the White Sox lineup on Tuesday night because of a stiff lower back.

Conor Gillaspie, who missed a handful of games with a bruised left hand, took Keppinger's place at third.

"I think it's one of those that's more precautionary," Ventura said. "We're in a position where we can have Conor go in and not push Kep to have to go out there and play. [Keppinger] is still available if something happens."

Royals: Moustakas to return on Wednesday
Third baseman Mike Moustakas will return to the Royals' starting lineup on Wednesday after battling a left calf strain. He injured the calf running the bases on Aug. 12 and has played in only one game since.

Yost said that Moustakas would have been available Tuesday, but he decided to be cautious and elected to start Jamey Carroll in his place.

"He's getting better," Yost said of Moustakas. "Right now, we're just trying to get that leg healed. We're facing tough lefties and thought we'd give him an opportunity to heal up and have him available to come into the game late or pinch-hit."

Worth noting
• Right-hander Tyler Danish, the second-round pick of the White Sox in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, was promoted from Advanced Rookie Bristol to Class A Kannapolis on Tuesday.

• Infielder Elliot Johnson was released by the Royals on Monday. Johnson played in 79 games with a .179 average, two home runs, nine RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

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