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CWS@BOS: Sale strikes out six over 7 2/3 innings

The Royals, who have dropped three straight since the All-Star break, must find a way to stop the bleeding before their playoff aspirations start to slip away as they begin a three-game series with the White Sox.

This will be a tall task as Chicago sends ace Chris Sale to the mound in the opener on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Kansas City, fresh off three straight losses at Fenway Park, has lost six of seven and will counter with Jeremy Guthrie.

July has not been kind to Guthrie in two starts this month. Most recently, Guthrie allowed eight runs in a 16-4 loss against the Tigers on July 10. Previously, he surrendered six runs and 11 hits to Cleveland on July 5. The right-hander lasted four innings in both outings.

Guthrie posted a 10.43 ERA over his last three starts.

"Very similar to the previous outing, with a similar outcome," Guthrie said of his start against the Tigers.

On the other hand, Sale's two July starts represent the antithesis of Guthrie's outings.

Sale (8-1, 2.08 ERA) has allowed two runs in 16 2/3 innings with 18 strikeouts. Guthrie has allowed 14 runs in eight innings with seven strikeouts.

Sale shut down Boston in a no-decision on July 9, as the Red Sox managed just one run in his 7 2/3 innings. Sale entered the eighth inning with a 3-0 lead, but the bullpen faltered in the final two innings. Jake Petricka and Javy Guerra gave up four runs, and Boston eventually won in walk-off fashion in the ninth.

"Obviously, you want to win every game you're winning," Sale said after the loss. "Any time you lose a game like this it's tough, but this is baseball. This is what happens. We're not the first team this has ever happened to. Just try not to get too down on it and come back tomorrow ready to win."

The Royals could certainly benefit from the services of All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who sat out Sunday's 6-0 loss to Boston with a strained right groin. However, he expects to return on Monday.

"I'll start tomorrow for sure," Perez said before Sunday's loss. "This is like my day off."

Perez sustained the injury during a rundown on Friday night. He stayed in that game and played Saturday night as well, but it was bothering him on Sunday.

"It's nothing bad, just tight," Perez said. "It hurts my leg when I squat down."

Manager Ned Yost didn't consider the injury severe enough to call up another catcher from the Minors.

Royals: It's that consistent inconsistency

Yost has encountered many head-scratching moments about the Royals' roller-coaster season. But what's the most puzzling aspect for the manager?

"Just the consistency of our offense. It's consistently inconsistent," Yost said.

"We [get going] and it's, man, here we go. And then, we go through stretches and it's like, man, are we ever going to score a run? I don't know how that happens."

The Royals rank in the top five among the 15 American League teams in batting average, but they are in the bottom five in runs scored and on-base percentage.

"I think every team goes through it. Maybe because it's our team that it seems more magnified," Yost said, noting that he's seen similar cases of inconsistency with the Red Sox, Tigers and Indians among others. "But it feels worse when it's your team. You don't care when somebody else is going through it."

Yost, for the most part, has seen consistency from his pitching, defense and baserunning this season.

"If we can get some offense, we're going to be all right," he said.

White Sox: Eaton coming around

Adam Eaton is beginning to display why the White Sox parted with one of their starting pitchers to obtain his services.

Eaton, acquired by Chicago in three-way deal that sent Hector Santiago to the Angels, continued his torrid pace on Sunday in the White Sox's 11-7 loss to the Astros.

The center fielder collected a pair of hits and walks, while swiping his ninth base of the season.

Eaton has hit safely in seven straight games, while posting a .429 batting average during that span.

Worth noting

Right-handed-hitting Royals who have set sail against Sale: Alcides Escobar, .385 (15-for-39); Billy Butler, .378 (14-for-37, three homers) and Lorenzo Cain, .333 (10-for-30, one homer).

In 22 appearances (11 starts) and 92 innings against the Royals -- all personal highs against all MLB opponents -- Sale sports a 2.45 ERA .

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