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Liriano one-hits the Twins through seven

The White Sox are leading the second-place Tigers by two games in American League Central, but one thing they haven't accomplished this season is finding a solution for the Royals' Jeremy Guthrie.

They get their fourth opportunity in the past six weeks on Thursday night, when Guthrie takes the mound for the Royals in the last of a three-game series against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City is coming off a victory on Wednesday night that snapped Chicago's five-game winning streak and pushed the Royals' season advantage to 11-6 heading into the teams' final meeting.

The White Sox division lead might be bigger had the Royals not acquired Guthrie from the Rockies on July 20. The right-hander has faced the White Sox three times since Aug. 8 and led his team to a victory each time. In 23 2/3 innings he has held Chicago to two unearned runs on 13 hits, with one walk and 15 strikeouts.

"He just mixes pitches real well and got quick outs," Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham said after Guthrie tossed eight scoreless innings at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 9. "Threw strikes, mixed his pitches, got offspeed [pitches] over the plate and threw strikes."

Chicago isn't the only team having trouble with Guthrie of late. He has gone 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last eight outings, allowing two runs or fewer seven times.

White Sox starter Francisco Liriano, also a midseason acquisition, was going through some struggles but busted out of them on Saturday against his former club. The lefty held the Twins to two runs on one hit in seven innings, striking out nine. Trevor Plouffe's two-run homer broke up Liriano's no-hit bid with two outs in the seventh.

"I had better location with my pitches today," Liriano said following the win. "I was getting ahead in the count early and they were swinging early, too. Pitching's all about location. When you have pretty good location, you're going to get better results."

White Sox: Rios excelling in bid for first postseason run
Nine-year veteran Alex Rios has never taken part in the playoffs and is relishing his role on a first-place team.

"This whole season has been something that I've never experienced," Rios said. "I've never experienced this, and every day when you come to the field, it means something. It means that you have to come and do something good to try to win games."

He's been doing plenty to make sure Chicago reaches the postseason. After a 3-for-4 game on Wednesday, Rios is hitting .301 with an .854 OPS, 24 home runs, 87 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.

He also is tied for first in the Majors in lead-changing home runs and has collected eight in the sixth inning or later, including his shot in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win.

Royals: Gordon closing in on club record
Left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 and smacked his Major League-best 49th double on Wednesday. That brought him within five of Hal McRae's club record, set in 1977, and within two of Billy Butler's second-place mark of 51 from 2009.

• Gordon, a Gold Glove winner last year, also has collected 13 outfield assists, helping the Royals to first place in the Majors with 44. Jeff Francoeur leads the way with 18 for Kansas City, which racked up 51 outfield assists last season.

• The Royals plan to have Jake Odorizzi, their top pitching prospect, make his Major League debut on Sunday afternoon against the Indians at Kauffman Stadium.

Worth noting
• Liriano has a 5.51 ERA against the Royals in three starts this season, two of which came while he was with the Twins. Comments