Jason Vargas tries to pitch the Kansas City Royals to a third straight win on Monday when they open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City managed just two runs in losing the first two games of a four-game affair with the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, but rallied to win the final two games, including an impressive offensive performance in Sunday's finale.
Alex Gordon finished 4-for-4 with a career-best six RBI thanks to a pair of three-run homers to fuel Kansas City's 8-6 victory.
Gordon joined elite company along with Willie Wilson, George Brett, U.L. Washington and Kevin Seitzer as the only players in Royals history with at least two homers, six RBI, four hits and three runs scored in one contest.
"It gave me goosebumps," Gordon said of his curtain call in the eighth inning after his second long ball of the contest. "I didn't know what to do. They just told me to go wave my helmet."
Lorenzo Cain and Billy Butler drove in a run each for the Royals, who have won five of their last seven.
James Shields (6-3) tossed seven effective innings, allowing nine hits and three runs. Aaron Crow made things interesting in the ninth after serving up a three-run homer to Adam Jones, but Greg Holland retired the only two batters he faced to earn his 12th save.
Vargas hopes for that same type of support on Monday, as he tries to win his third straight start. Vargas beat the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday, as he allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings to run his record to 4-1, while lowering his ERA to 3.00.
Vargas has faced the White Sox seven times (6 starts) and is 1-1 with a 6.31 ERA.
Chicago has lost six of eight after dropping two of three to the Houston Astros over the weekend, including an 8-2 setback in Sunday's rubber match at Minute Maid Park.
John Danks (3-4) surrendered eight runs (7 earned) on 10 hits and three walks, while Adrian Nieto finished 3-for-3 and drove in both runs.
"I did a terrible job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. I tried to change my game plan a little bit and that backfired on me," said Danks.
As if things weren't bad enough the White Sox placed MLB home run leader Jose Abreu on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's game with tendinitis in his left ankle.
Chicago will now turn to righty Scott Carroll, who may be pitching to stay in the White Sox's rotation. With Chris Sale expected to return soon, Carroll could be on the way out, as he has lost three in a row and is 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA.
Carroll was pounded in a loss in Oakland on Wednesday, as he surrendered six runs and 11 hits in five innings.
"It's just kind of leaving me a little salty because I know I'm better than that," Carroll said.
Kansas City took two of three from the ChiSox earlier in the season.