Preview: Royals at White Sox

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[September 09, 2016]  With losses in five of their last eight contests, the Kansas City Royals look to regain their footing and reignite their march toward a postseason berth on Friday when they visit the Chicago White Sox for the opener of a three-game series. Kansas City, which resides four games behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot, has won nine of 12 meetings with Chicago this season - including four of six at U.S. Cellular Field.

Kendrys Morales, who homered in the Royals' 6-5 setback at Minnesota on Wednesday, is batting .405 with 16 RBIs and 12 runs scored during his 10-game hitting streak. The 33-year-old struggled mightily in the first three series against the White Sox, going 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts before collecting three hits in two games against the American League Central rival last month. Jose Abreu recorded his fourth three-hit performance in September on Wednesday to lift Chicago to its fourth win in six outings with a 7-4 victory versus Detroit. The 29-year-old Cuban has hit safely in 30 of his last 34 games, but is just 3-for-13 in his career against Friday starter Yordano Ventura.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, CSN Chicago

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Yordano Ventura (10-9, 4.22 ERA) vs. White Sox LH Carlos Rodon (6-8, 3.90)

Ventura overcame six walks in as many innings of Saturday's 5-2 victory over Detroit to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts. The 25-year-old Dominican has yielded 11 earned runs in that stretch and is coming off a masterful performance in his last encounter with Chicago. Ventura allowed one run and struck out 10 over seven innings in a 3-1 triumph over the White Sox on June 12, just over two weeks removed from getting gouged for seven runs in a no-decision.

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Rodon won his third consecutive start and improved to 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six on Friday after working seven innings in an 11-4 victory at Minnesota. The 23-year-old struck out five in that contest and has fanned 31 over 37 2/3 frames since his last loss on July 31. Rodon, who will be making his career-high 24th start on Friday, is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 14 strikeouts in three meetings with Kansas City this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Kansas City 1B Eric Hosmer has scored 10 runs in his last seven games.

2. White Sox SS Tyler Saladino has hit safely in eight of his last nine contests overall, and owns 18 hits in as many career meetings with the Royals.

3. Kansas City 3B Cheslor Cuthbert is just 1-for-14 in his last four games.

PREDICTION: Royals 3, White Sox 1

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