Despite all their struggles at home, the Chicago White Sox are still hanging around the race for first place in the AL Central.
The White Sox seek a rare series win at U.S. Cellular Field as they try to get back to .500 for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks in Sunday's series finale against the Kansas City Royals.Chicago (59-60) is five games back of first-place Detroit, but probably feels like it should be the ones setting the pace if it could protect its home field.The White Sox, owners of the majors' fourth-worst home record at 25-33, snapped a seven-game losing streak at U.S. Cellular Field with Saturday's 5-4 win over the Royals."I think it's just been bad luck at home, that's just how it's been going," said Tyler Flowers, who hit his first major league home run.The White Sox took the lead in the seventh inning of a game that featured over two hours of rain delays when Alejandro De Aza forced in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk."Taking a walk to win that's unusual, but it's something we needed," Ozzie Guillen said. "Especially in this ballpark, we're not playing well. Had we lose and had the rain delays and all this stuff, I don't know how we would have handled it for (Sunday's) game."Instead of worrying about how to bounce back from another loss in front of the home crowd, Guillen's club is now trying to win consecutive home games in a single series for the first time since June 21 and 22 against the Cubs. The White Sox have only won one of their last six series at U.S. Cellular Field.Guillen will give the ball to John Danks (4-9, 4.00 ERA), who looks to rebound from another shaky outing against one of his favorite opponents.In Baltimore on Monday, Danks gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 7-6 win, but didn't receive a decision. The left-hander has permitted nine runs over 12 1/3 innings in two starts this month after going 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his previous six outings.One of those strong showings came in Kansas City on July 20, when he held the Royals to five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1, 11-inning loss. He has routinely pitched well in this series, going 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last six starts against Kansas City.Danks has done a good job of shutting down Melky Cabrera, limiting him to three hits in 14 at-bats. Cabrera, 12 for 24 with two homers and eight RBIs during a six-game hitting streak, is batting a major league-best .400 since July 2.The Royals (50-70), losers of seven of nine, will send Jeff Francis (4-12, 4.51) to the mound.Against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Francis got into a little trouble early, allowing the game's first three batters to reach base before settling down and retiring the next 15. The left-hander ended up yielding four runs and five hits in seven innings of a 4-0 loss, his sixth defeat in seven decisions.Francis has pitched well in two starts against the White Sox this year, recording a 2.84 ERA without a decision.Paul Konerko has had some success against Francis this season, however, going 3 for 6 with a double. Konerko hit a two-run homer Saturday, his team-high 27th of the season.