(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals attempt to continue their surge up the AL Central standings on Saturday afternoon as their three-game weekend set with the Chicago White Sox continues at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Royals came out swinging with five runs in the top of the first inning on Friday night on their way to a 7-2 victory. They've now won five straight and are just a game and a half back of Detroit for first place.
Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Lorenzo Cain all knocked home a pair of RBI, while Norichika Aoki and Omar Infante combined for five hits and four runs scored out of the first and second slots in the lineup.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-6) enjoyed an early cushion to cruise to the victory, allowing six hits and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out a season-high nine.
"It was nice," Hosmer said of getting out to a big lead early on. "As an offense, that's what we're trying to do. (Guthrie) didn't have his best stuff tonight, but he had a nice cushion to work with, and he grinded it out."
Jose Quintana (3-7) settled down after his early struggles to tough out six innings but was still saddled with the loss after scattering eight hits and six earned runs.
Adam Eaton went 2-for-2 with an RBI and three walks for the White Sox, while Jose Abreu had a sacrifice fly in the first inning for his 51st RBI.
Danny Duffy will get the call for the Royals on Saturday afternoon. In 13 appearances, including seven starts, Duffy is 3-5 with a 3.26 ERA.
Duffy earned a no-decision his last time out, lasting 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees on June 7 while allowing five hits, three walks and three earned runs.
The southpaw has fared much better on the road this season (2.22 ERA) than at home (4.37).
The White Sox will look to Hector Noesi. He's just 2-4 on the year with a 5.40 ERA, but he's turned the corner in June and is attempting to win his third straight start.
Noesi was far from great on June 9 as he served up three home run balls in 5 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to earn the victory as Chicago edged Detroit, 6-5.
The 27-year-old journeyman has not played well during afternoon games this season, going 0-3 with a 9.16 ERA.
The Royals have a slight 4-3 edge in the season series with the White Sox.