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posted: 9/8/2012 10:05 PM

White Sox hold on, finally stop Royals

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  • White Sox starter Chris Sale improved to 16-6 with Saturday's victory over the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.

      White Sox starter Chris Sale improved to 16-6 with Saturday's victory over the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

Pretty it was not.

Seemingly in complete control Saturday with a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, the White Sox had to overcome an error and plenty of anxiety in the ninth before earning a 5-4 victory over the Royals.

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Apologizing they were not.

"Whatever, you know?" catcher Tyler Flowers said after the Sox snapped a six-game losing streak against Kansas City. "We've just got to win. It doesn't matter who it's against, whatever it is, we just have to try to win every day.

"They always seem to play us pretty tough. They play fundamental baseball and they take advantage of pitches, pretty much like every other team. We got a good win today, and we've got to get another one tomorrow."

Not only did the White Sox finally beat the Royals, who stormed back in the ninth inning with 2 runs thanks to a lapse by left fielder Jordan Danks, a defensive replacement, they solved K.C. starter Bruce Chen.

Even though he's now 10-12 with a 5.36 ERA, Chen came in with 4 straight wins over the Sox, and the soft-throwing lefty allowed just 5 runs in his last 5 starts against the South Siders.

This time the White Sox scored 5 runs off Chen in 6 innings, including a 2-run homer by Flowers and solo shots by Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko.

"He's tough, especially with the shadows and the time we played," manager Robin Ventura said of Chen. "He mixes it around, changes speeds and all that. Good job today by the offense."

Sox starter Chris Sale (16-6) also did a good job, settling into a groove while pitching 6 innings and allowing 1 run on 5 hits.

Sale didn't throw a first-pitch strike his first time through the Royals' lineup, but he gained momentum as he went along and retired the last 10 hitters he faced.

"It was just something I kind of had to find again and get back to where I was," Sale said. "The first few innings were kind of erratic, all over the place and honestly just try to go out there and battle it out. Try to make pitches from there on out.

"I tried to just fill up the zone and throw strikes. This is a good-hitting team and they like to swing, and when they start to take a lot of pitches on you, you know you've got to turn things around and start throwing more strikes.

"I think Flowers did a heck of a job doing that for me, realizing what was working and what wasn't, to get me back on track."

Sale improved to 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last 9 home starts, but he had to sweat out the end, along with the rest of the Sox.

After giving up a 2-run homer in the ninth inning of Friday night's 7-5 loss to the Royals, closer Addison Reed got the call again Saturday and got two quick outs.

But Mike Moustakas kept the game going when Danks dropped his flyball to left. Originally ruled an error, Moustakas was later credited with a double.

"You give them an inch and they're going to take a yard," Ventura said. "It makes for an interesting finish."

Run-scoring singles by Brayan Pena and Johnny Giavotella made it a 5-4 game, but Reed struck out Lorenzo Cain to nail down his 26th save.

"(Danks) lost it in the lights," Reed said. "It's part of the game. I wasn't mad or anything. I was just trying to get the next guy. We got out of here with the win, and that's the good thing."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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