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BAL@KC: Ventura fans nine, holds O's to two runs

Yordano Ventura was held out of the Royals' first series against the White Sox in April after his start was rained out in Detroit. Manager Ned Yost didn't want the 22-year-old phenom to start the home opener and the accompanying hoopla that comes with it, and he didn't want to juggle his rotation.

Tuesday won't be Ventura's first exposure to the White Sox, however. After his September callup last year, his third and final start was against them in Chicago. How did that go?

"I pitched four innings and they hit three homers," Ventura said. "But this year, it's a new deal."

The home runs were by Jordan Danks, Adam Dunn and Marcus Semien, and Ventura had his first Major League decision, a loss, as the White Sox won, 6-5.

Ventura will be opposed by another young right-hander in Chicago's Andre Rienzo. Twice last season Rienzo faced the Royals, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

Rienzo said that he has been making adjustments to his mechanics with help from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. Last season, his pitches tended to sail on him, so Cooper has Rienzo working on his posture on the mound to keep the ball down in the zone.

"Cooper kind of talks to me every day and he's worked with me to command the fastball, and to get my breaking ball working more," said Rienzo, who is 3-0 with a 4.20 ERA this season.

This will be Ventura's ninth start since the rainout at Detroit, and he's just 2-3 despite ranking sixth in the American League with a 2.40 ERA and sixth with a .213 batting average against.

His average of 9.80 strikeouts per nine innings is second among Major League rookies to Masahiro Tanaka's 10.24.

White Sox: Konerko, Dunn to split time at first with Abreu out
With budding star Jose Abreu on the disabled list with posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle, the White Sox will be relying on veterans Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn to fill in for the youngster at first base. Abreu has started 34 of his 43 games at first base; he's been the DH in the other nine.

Chicago manager Robin Ventura said Monday that his captain, Konerko, won't be affected by the temporary change in his role.

"For him, once something like this happens, he just plays," Ventura said of Konerko, who belted a go-ahead two-run homer in Monday's 7-6 victory. "I don't think he's going to think one way or another as far as it's too much, it's not enough -- he just plays."

Royals: Playing capture the base
The inability to score runs has been the Royals' downfall in the first quarter of the season. They are third to last in the AL in runs scored. The search for consistency goes on.

"It takes one through nine to be consistent for the most part," manager Ned Yost said. "You've got to have guys get on base, have your run producers drive them in. The back end of the order can be run producers also.

"It's all about capturing bases. Consistent offenses capture bases any way they can. Walks, errors, hit-by-pitches, base hits. The majority of games, you go back and look and see who got on base the most, and generally they win those games. It's all about getting on base and keeping the line moving."

The Royals need to improve in that category, too. They are 12th out of 15 AL teams in on-base percentage.

Worth noting
• Right fielder Nori Aoki has settled in comfortably at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. He was fifth in the AL with a .347 average at home entering Monday.

• Of their 14 series played going into this one, the Royals stood 8-4-2.

• Rienzo received a no-decision in his last start on Wednesday at Oakland. He allowed two earned runs on two hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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