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KC@TOR: Guthrie goes seven strong, striking out five

Jeremy Guthrie could use a victory when he faces the White Sox on Friday night. After all, he's been without one in his last 11 starts since winning his first two games of the season.

Since his third outing of the year on April 16, the right-handed Guthrie has received just 2.59 runs of support per nine innings from his lineup -- lowest in the American League in that period.

Even if the Royals don't give him much run support, Guthrie has proved he can be very tight-fisted at U.S. Cellular Field. In nine starts there, he is 5-3 with a 2.73 ERA -- the best mark among 27 active Major League pitchers, both home and visiting, who have made at least eight starts there.

In addition to a nice history against the White Sox, Guthrie (2-6, 4.10) has also found his groove on the mound as of late, with three quality starts in his last four outings. The non-quality start was also his most recent, as he gave up four runs in seven innings in a 4-2 loss to the Yankees.

However, three of Guthrie's allowed runs came in the third inning off of one mistake -- a bases-clearing double by Yankees catcher Brian McCann.

"I tried to go up and away off the plate, and he went out there and slapped it," Guthrie said.

The White Sox will turn to left-hander Jose Quintana in the series opener.

Quintana (3-6, 3.59) finds himself in the midst of another solid season, having given up no more than three runs in 11 of his 13 starts. However, he enters Friday holding a career 4.06 ERA in nine games against the Royals.

Quintana got roughed up by the Angels last time out -- surrendering four runs in 4 1/3 innings -- but was a victim of more poor fielding by the White Sox, who committed two errors.

"You don't play defense and you give a team like that opportunities, you leave that little crack in the door open," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after the loss. "And they kicked it wide open."

Royals: "You've got to have faith"
Kansas City's recent hot streak -- the team is 9-4 in its last 13 games -- began at Toronto when, coincidentally or not, the Royals turned to Dale Sveum as the hitting coach. Even so, manager Ned Yost believed all along that the struggling offense would come to life at some point.

"You've got to have faith in your players. If you don't, you're in trouble," he said. "When you have faith in your players and know what they're capable of doing, it makes it easier to stay patient and try to keep the waters as calm as you possibly can when everybody else wants to make them choppy."

The Royals offense has produced six or more runs six times since beginning the aforementioned series with the Blue Jays, including a nine-run effort in Tuesday's win over the Indians.

"Over the course of 162 games, you've got to maintain your patience, you've got to maintain an even keel because you know there are ups and downs," Yost said. "For us so far this year, our downs have been far less than they were last year. That's a good thing because it can get crazy."

White Sox: Jones resumes throwing
Right-hander Nate Jones underwent back surgery over a month ago, and on Monday he was finally able to throw a baseball without experiencing any pain.

"I'm feeling pretty good, especially after yesterday," Jones said Tuesday. "I got to go out there and toss a little bit. That made me feel like a part of the team. I'm excited about that."

Jones gave up four runs in his only two appearances with the White Sox this season and still has a fair amount of rehab to work through before rejoining the team's bullpen. But the progress remains encouraging for the young right-hander.

"Yesterday, I tossed from about 50 or 60 feet, and I think today we get to toss a little farther, maybe 70, 75 feet. We'll just take a day at a time."

Worth noting
• Of all the White Sox, Paul Konerko has the most career at-bats against Guthrie, going 14-for-52 with four home runs against Kansas City's starter.

• Mike Moustakas has a strong track record when facing Quintana -- he's gone 8-for-19 (.421) with two homers against him in his career.

• Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Tigers snapped a five-game winning streak for the White Sox within the American League Central.

• White Sox starters have a 3.02 ERA over 128 innings and 21 games since May 20.

• Alexei Ramirez has hit safely in 29 of 33 home games this season.

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