The top team in the American League Central Division opens the second half against one of its pursuers tonight, as the Chicago White Sox visit the Kansas City Royals for the first of three games at Kauffman Stadium.

The White Sox reached the All-Star break with a three-game bulge in the division over the Cleveland Indians after winning five of their final six games, while the Royals are fourth in the division -- 9 1/2 games behind Chicago -- after losing three straight.

Rookie southpaw Jose Quintana starts on the mound for the White Sox in his 11th big-league appearance and ninth start.

The 23-year-old Colombian was split between starting and relieving in his initial four appearances between May 7 and June 2, but has started exclusively since and is 3-1 in six outings.

He picked up wins in the two most recent starts, allowing a combined 10 hits and seven runs in 14 innings while defeating the New York Yankees and Texas on June 29 and July 5, respectively.

Quintana has pitched at least eight innings in three of his eight starts and allowed three earned runs or less in all eight.

He has never faced the Royals.

Kansas City counters with veteran lefty Bruce Chen, who meets the White Sox for the 16th time in his 336th major-league outing.

The native of Panama is 3-4 with a 3.30 earned run average in 71 innings against Chicago, allowing 61 hits and holding the White Sox to a collective .237 batting average.

He reached the break with losses in his last two starts -- against Minnesota and Detroit -- while allowing 15 hits and 12 runs across nine innings.

His last win came June 26 against Tampa Bay and saw him toss seven innings of five-hit ball with a single earned run allowed in an 8-2 triumph.

On Sunday in Chicago, Colby Rasmus ripped a two-run home run and finished with three RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays outslugged the White Sox, 11-9, in the finale of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.

Alex Rios crushed a three-run home run and finished with four RBI and three runs scored, while Alexei Ramirez contributed a two-run triple for the White Sox.

Dylan Axelrod (0-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in just three innings.

In Detroit, Max Scherzer tossed seven outstanding innings and the Tigers wrapped up the first half with a 7-1 win over the Royals to finish off a three-game sweep at Comerica Park.

Salvador Perez accounted for the lone run with a home run for the Royals, who have dropped eight of their last 10 contests.

Everett Teaford (1-2) was tagged for the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 4 1/3 frames.