Royals turn to Francis versus White Sox

Jeff Francis has not had the type of season the Royals game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Royals hoped Francis would prove to be a legitimate number one starter when they added him to the mix this offseason, but that just hasn't been the case. The lefty is 4-12 with a 4.51 ERA, and while he certainly hasn't gotten great run support, Francis needs to pitch better. He yielded four runs on five hits against Tampa Bay in a loss on Tuesday.

Francis has pitched fairly well in two meetings with the White Sox so far this season, but neither resulted in victory. He is 0-1 lifetime versus Chicago with a 4.74 ERA.

Chicago's John Danks, who will oppose Francis, didn't figure into the decision of Monday's game against Baltimore, as he permitted five runs over 6 1/3 innings of action. The lefty didn't issue a single walk while registering seven strikeouts. He is a disappointing 4-9 overall this season with a 4.00 ERA.

Danks pitched well in a no-decision against Kansas City earlier this season, and he is 2-0 lifetime versus the Royals with a 2.40 ERA.

Yesterday, Alejandro De Aza drew a seventh-inning, bases-loaded walk to push the White Sox past the Royals, 5-4, in the middle contest of this series.

Carlos Quentin ripped a game-tying double earlier in the seventh, plating Juan Pierre, who went 3-for-4. Paul Konerko belted a two-run homer and Tyler Flowers hit his first major league home run to help the White Sox snap a seven-game home losing streak.

The White Sox, who are five games off the pace in the American League Central, had lost those previous seven home games by a combined score of 54-17, and the drought was their longest since April 13-May 1 of this season.

"I'm glad we came back to win the game and I'm glad I was able to help. It probably wouldn't mean as much if we didn't get a win out of it," Flowers said about his home run.

Jake Peavy allowed four runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 frames and Jesse Crain (7-3) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Chris Sale threw a perfect ninth to record his fourth save of the season.

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was not in the lineup after bruising his left wrist during Friday's series opener.

Luke Hochevar (8-9) was charged with five runs on eight hits over six-plus frames to suffer the loss, although Aaron Crow walked home the deciding run.

"I felt like the leadoff guy of every inning was on. It was a grinding night and sometimes you run into those," Hochevar said about his outing.

Billy Butler had a two-run single for the Royals, losers in seven of their last nine.

Kansas City still owns a slim 6-4 edge in its season series with Chicago.