The Cleveland Indians are still in the thick of the American League playoff race and will try to remain there when they hit the road for seven games starting with Thursday's opener of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians and Baltimore Orioles are 1 1/2 games off the final wild card spot in the AL, while the New York Yankees sit one game behind. Kansas City is only two games off the pace.
Cleveland went 5-4 on its recent homestand and lost its series with the Royals after Wednesday's 6-2 setback from Progressive Field. Scott Kazmir was dealt the loss for the Tribe and allowed four runs, three of which were earned, nine hits and no walks in four innings.
Michael Brantley drove in both of Cleveland's run with a single in the bottom of the first inning to make a 3-2 game. The Royals, though, scored the next three runs to pull away.
"They're a good team. They're right where we are," Indians manager Terry Francona said of the Royals. "They're fighting like crazy like we are. They're a real good team. We hung on in the first game, and then they beat us twice. So now we've got to go play well tomorrow."
Francona's club will meet the Royals again next week at Kauffman Stadium.
Taking the mound for Cleveland Thursday will be Corey Kluber, who is 8-5 with a 3.54 earned run average in 22 games (20 starts). Kluber is 2-0 in his last eight appearances and got the win in Saturday's 9-4 victory over the New York Mets with five innings of two-run ball.
In four career meetings (3 starts) with the White Sox, the right-handed Kluber is 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA.
Chicago will continue its 10-game homestand and lost two of three to Detroit to kick off the residency. In Wednesday's tough 1-0 loss, Omar Infante broke the game open with an RBI single in the top of the eighth and White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom was dealt the loss.
Jose Quintana started for the White Sox and tossed seven shutout innings. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez struck out 10 over 7 1/3 scoreless frames.
"It was a close game. We faced a very good pitcher," Quintana said. "I don't control the results. I control what I go out and do."
Leury Garcia led the Pale Hose with three hits and the club lost for the 11th time in the past 13 contests.
Chicago hopes to give John Danks some run support when he takes the mound in the opener of this series with the Indians. Danks has lost two straight starts and 10 of his previous 13 decisions. In Friday's 4-0 loss at Baltimore, Danks was reached for four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings to fall to 4-12 to go along with a 4.45 ERA.
The left-hander did not record a decision in a 3-2 loss at Cleveland back on July 29, when he gave up two runs (1 earned). Danks has made 17 career starts against the Indians and owns a 4-8 mark with a 4.73 ERA.
Cleveland has owned the White Sox this season to the tune of an 11-2 mark. The Indians are unbeaten in the last eight matchups between the clubs.