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Kansas City Royals (88-73) at Chicago White Sox (73-88)
Sunday, September 28 - 2:10 PM EST
U.S Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois
The Kansas City Royals are guaranteed to at least host the American League Wild Card game Tuesday, but they still have a chance to tie Detroit on the final day of the regular season. The Royals need to beat the host Chicago White Sox on Sunday and hope for the Tigers to lose a third straight game to Minnesota to force a playoff for the AL Central title. Kansas City leads the season series against Chicago 12-6 and had won 10 of the last 12 meetings before Saturday's 5-4 setback.
The White Sox honored retiring slugger Paul Konerko prior to Saturday's 5-4 win, a victory that ensured they will avoid consecutive 90-loss seasons for the first time since 1988-89. Rookie Jose Abreu broke the franchise single-season rookie record with his 36th homer Saturday, which ended an 11-game drought overall and marked his first long ball against the Royals. A pair of rookies square off Sunday with Kansas City's Yordano Ventura opposing Chicago's Chris Bassitt.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.07 ERA) vs. White Sox LH Chris Bassitt (1-1, 3.65)
Ventura was superb in his last outing, blanking Cleveland on four hits over seven innings to improve to 7-2 since July 25. It was the 11th consecutive quality start for the 23-year-old rookie from the Dominican Republic, who has not surrendered a home run in his last nine turns. Ventura beat the White Sox with seven innings of one-run ball Sept. 17, but lost to Chicago at home May 20, permitting four runs in six innings.
Bassitt turned in the best performance of his brief major-league career Monday, tossing a season-high 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Detroit to notch his first career victory. It was a strong bounce-back outing after he lasted only 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision at Kansas City in his previous turn. Bassitt has yet to surrender a homer but has battled control issues with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
1. Royals CF Lorenzo Cain and SS Alcides Escobar are riding nine- and eight-game hitting streaks, respectively.
2. White Sox C Josh Phegley is 4-for-7 with three homers in the series.
3. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas on Saturday had his first multi-hit game since Sept. 9.
PREDICTION: Royals 5, White Sox 2