Royals' Guthrie puts streak to test vs. White Sox

Jeremy Guthrie tries to stretch his unbeaten streak to 17 games on Friday when the Kansas City Royals open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

Guthrie extended the streak on Sunday against Cleveland, as he scattered six hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to run his record this season to 3-0, while lowering his ERA to 3.06.

The unbeaten streak, which began with a 2-1 win over the White Sox on Aug. 8, ties the Royals' franchise record set by Paul Splittorff spanning the 1977 and 1978 seasons. He's 8-0 during the streak with a 2.44 ERA.

Guthrie is the first pitcher with such a 16-start stretch since the Braves' Kris Medlen, whose undefeated streak lasted from May 31, 2009, to last Sept. 30.

"I knew it's been a number of starts in a row, because people kept reminding me of it," said Guthrie. "Ultimately, it means a lot because hopefully the guys behind me when I go out are confident that we have a chance to win the game."

Guthrie beat the White Sox in his first start of the season and is 5-5 lifetime against them with a 3.14 ERA in 17 games (15 starts).

Opposing Guthrie in the opener will be righty Dylan Axelrod, who is 0-1 with a 3.95 ERA. Axelrod did not get a decision in the third straight start on Sunday against Tampa Bay, which reached him for three runs in six innings of the White Sox' 8-3 loss.

This will be his first-ever start against the Royals.

Chicago enters this set on the heels of a series win over the Texas Rangers. In Thursday's rubber match, Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to carry the White Sox to a 3-1 triumph.

Hector Santiago (1-1) allowed one run on two hits while striking out six over 5 1/3 innings for the White Sox, who won their first road series of the season. Santiago made his first start of the year in place of Jake Peavy, who was scratched due to back spasms.

"I kind of had prepared for tomorrow (Friday)," Santiago said. "I felt fine and warming up I felt really good. Nothing was different than a regular day."

Kansas City, meanwhile, had the finale of its three-game set with the Rays postponed due to a winter storm that created unplayable conditions.

The contest did start on time despite the presence of rain mixed with cold temperatures, but was halted after 3 1/2 innings with the Royals leading 1-0.

Kansas City, though, has won five of its last seven and sits atop the American League Central standings with a percentage points lead over the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago took two of three from the Royals to start the season.