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CWS@PHI: Santiago fans nine over 7 1/3 strong innings

As the Royals headed to Chicago for a three-game set, they were set to face three straight lefties, and with two down, the only one left is Hector Santiago on Sunday.

With a 5-1 win over Jose Quintana Friday night and a 1-0 win Saturday over Chris Sale, the Royals improved to 11-17 against left-handers this season. The win allows the Royals to vie for the series sweep as well as their sixth straight win.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura described the rotation as a bit unique.

"I don't know," Ventura said. "It's unusual. It depends on who you're facing. If you're facing all righties, it's probably not. But if you start running down the teams that have a lot of lefties, it's probably pretty good. At this point, we are what we are. We're wanting the best guys that we have, it doesn't matter really which way they throw. These are the guys that deserve to be here."

Santiago is 2-2 with a 3.40 ERA in his last eight starts. His last outing was marred by a season-high four errors from the White Sox, spelling a loss for the left-hander.

Santiago has already faced the Royals twice this season, the latest on June 21. He pitched eight innings and gave up just one run on three hits and a walk and struck out five.

"That start I just got ahead of everybody," Santiago said of the outing. "It was strike one, strike two, and every pitch was working. But for the most part it was just getting ahead of everybody, pitching to contact, and they pretty much got themselves out. There were a couple pitches that were down the middle and [Eric] Hosmer got me on two of them -- he got a double in the gap and he hit a home run. But for the most part, just getting ahead of everybody. That was the key to that game, for sure."

Royals left-handed hitter Mike Moustakas was out of the lineup against Sale Saturday (4-for-19, .211 lifetime) and Miguel Tejada, who never faced Sale previously, filled in at third.

"We'll play Moose at third again [Sunday]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's a different matchup. Sale is tough."

Even so, Moustakas is 0-for-6 against Santiago. Still, Yost is confident in his left-handers, saying that "all of our lefties that are playing have fared well against lefties."

The Royals will counter with a left-hander of their own: Bruce Chen. Chen is 4-0 this season with a 1.97 ERA in 21 outings, making just his third start since moving into the rotation. Chen last saw the White Sox on June 21, when he pitched 4 2/3 innings in which he gave up three runs on five hits.

Royals: Lough's bat provides needed productivity
Despite going 0-for-4 at the plate Saturday, David Lough has continued to stave off any concerns about finding a powerful bat in the outfield. The right fielder is 15-for-44 in a 12-game span for a .341 average.

Friday night, Lough had two RBIs on a home run and a base hit, but his hitless Saturday brought his average down to .298.

"He's been real consistent since the first day he got here," Yost said. "He's been consistent against both right-handed and left-handed pitching, and [he's] done a nice job in the outfield. He's played really well."

White Sox: Catchers foster healthy relationship
Since Josh Phegley was called up earlier this month, he has more or less taken over regular duties behind the plate, moving ahead of Tyler Flowers on the depth chart.

Flowers is expected to start Sunday, but the relationship between the two catchers has grown despite competing for the same position.

"I think they talk and it's enough of a relationship, and competitive, but they understand the job and what we're here to do," Ventura said. "Flo's been helpful, it's not that he's not trying to be helpful, it's just that he wants to play, too."

Worth noting
• With Saturday's win, the Royals own a 6-5 edge on the season series against the White Sox. Comments