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CWS@KC: Sale strikes out eight over 6 2/3 innings

As the White Sox continue their battle with the Tigers for the American League Central crown, the rest of the division appears likely to factor into which team comes out on top.

Detroit's remaining games come against the Royals and Twins. The South Siders play six of their final 10 contests against the scuffling Indians. Tribe skipper Manny Acta cautioned that he wouldn't lay down for his opponents.

"It's very important to me," Acta said. "You have to respect the game. That's something that we all preach. That's one of those things. You don't mess around with that kind of stuff. At any given point, you can be in that same situation, and you don't want that being done to you.

"We are short, and we're being overplayed a little bit. But that being said, when you're playing a team that's in the middle of it or fighting for a spot, they deserve to have your best team on the field out of respect for the other club. Because I don't want to be sitting here a year from now or two years from now and not feeling that somebody else on the other side is giving their best effort."

The Indians could have a big hand in deciding the division race. They lost two of three to Detroit last weekend, but still took 10 of 18 from the Tigers this season. Entering Monday's tilt -- the first of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field -- the White Sox have won eight of 12 against Cleveland this season.

"I think Chicago deserves to see the same team that Detroit saw from us the other day," Acta said. "Simple as that. It's a different scenario when we're playing Kansas City, and [the Royals] probably will feel the same way if you ask [Royals manager] Ned [Yost]. That's the way the game is. That's one of those things that's under the respecting-the-game rules."

The White Sox have lost five consecutive games, though manager Robin Ventura points out his team has performed best when its back is against the wall. They'll have ace Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82 ERA) on the hill for Monday's series opener.

"You always learn more through the adversity than the good times," said Ventura. "That's the point where you just keep playing. I think we've had points of the season where we've been through things like this and we've responded and bounced back. That's what you'd expect. It seems like we go on a roll after we've gone through the rough patch."

Indians: Donald recovering slowly
• Jason Donald took a Justin Verlander fastball to the right wrist on Sept. 14. He still isn't well enough to return to action.

"It's slow progress," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That thing got him pretty good. He was going through some numbness there. It was an issue to swing the bat and throw the ball 100 percent."

White Sox: Sale dominant at home
• Sale won't mind toeing the rubber in the Windy City on Monday. After all, the AL Cy Young Award candidate is 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last nine home starts. In three appearances (two starts) against the Indians this season, Sale is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA.

• Hitting coach Jeff Manto discussed his method of teaching players how to relax during the most intense, pressure-packed time of year.

"You are not going to replace that. The pressure is there," Manto said. "It does exist. It's something you have to deal with. That's why we have the players we do, because these guys have done it in the past.

"It's a matter of trusting themselves. The key for me is just to be able to not necessarily relax, but have that same anxiety you had earlier. It keeps you going. Just remembering to get a good ball to hit and pay attention to the at-bat."

Worth noting
• Before Sunday's 15-4 rout of Kansas City, the Indians' previous seven wins had each come by one run.

• Francisco Liriano will start on Tuesday for the White Sox. Jake Peavy, Wednesday's scheduled starter, could get pushed back a day to get some extra rest.

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