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KC@CWS: Sale fans six over six strong innings

White Sox left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start at his home park on Thursday night. Instead he will pitch outside his U.S. Cellular Field comfort zone on Friday thanks to the rain that postponed Chicago's series finale against Detroit until Monday.

That could be bad news for Sale and the White Sox, who carry a one-game lead in the American League Central into the series opener against the Twins at Target Field.

Sale, in his first season as a starter, has shown a dramatic split between his home and road performances. That gap has widened further of late.

In his last nine home starts, Sale is 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA. That includes Saturday, when he held the Royals to one run on five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts.

"Sale's an All-Star for a reason," Royals manager Ned Yost said afterward. "He's legit."

But the 23-year-old has a 1-4 record and 6.60 ERA over his five road starts, surrendering at least four runs in each one. He did pitch well in his lone outing at Target Field, limiting the Twins to two runs in seven innings on June 27.

On Friday he gets the ball in place of originally scheduled starter Francisco Liriano. With the rainout, Chicago elected to skip Liriano's spot in the rotation.

The Twins also made a change. Rookie Cole De Vries was supposed to start on Friday, but on Thursday, general manager Terry Ryan said that the right-hander will miss the rest of the season with a cracked rib, an injury he sustained in his previous start.

In his place, Minnesota will turn to righty Esmerling Vasquez, making his third start of the season. Vasquez has allowed nine runs on 10 hits in 8 2/3 innings over his first two outings.

"It just wasn't very fun to watch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after Vasquez gave up four runs in three innings on Sunday against the Indians. "Kind of danced around the strike zone. You've got to do better than that."

White Sox: Dunn recovering slowly
The White Sox didn't play on Thursday, but even if they had, Adam Dunn wouldn't have been involved. The slugger was out of the lineup for the seventh straight day with a strained right oblique, and his return doesn't appear imminent.

The injury is improving, but swinging a bat in game situations remains a problem, and manager Robin Ventura fears that Dunn will re-injure the muscle if he rushed back.

"It's one thing just going into the cage and taking swings," Ventura said. "It's another thing to swing and miss and check swing and stuff like that. When [head athletic trainer Herman Schneider] gives him the clean bill, we'll play him."

• Thursday's postponed game against the Tigers was rescheduled for Monday at 1:10 p.m. CT.

Twins: Lacking depth behind the plate
Minnesota is hoping that Joe Mauer will be able to return for the White Sox series after missing his third straight game on Thursday with back spasms. He is listed as day to day.

"He did a lot more today. He's getting there," Ryan said. "I would think there's a chance. I don't want to lock it in, but I would say there is a chance."

• With Ryan Doumit also listed as day to day thanks to a strained oblique, Drew Butera started his second straight game on Thursday, with Eduardo Escobar serving as backup.

• De Vries finishes the season 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts. He won each of his last three, including on Saturday, when he shut out the Indians over six innings but took a comebacker to the ribs that caused his injury.

Ryan said that De Vries has earned a shot at making the Twins' 2013 rotation.

Worth noting
• The White Sox have lost four straight road games and nine of 11 as they start a nine-game trip to Minneapolis, Kansas City and Anaheim.

• This series will be the last this season between the teams, with Chicago holding an 11-4 advantage overall and 4-2 at Target Field. Comments