The White Sox beat the Royals' new starting pitchers -- ace James Shields and Ervin Santana -- in the first two games of the season-opening series at U.S. Cellular Field. But they had some familiar failures against an old nemesis Thursday and it cost them a sweep.
Jeremy Guthrie stood in the way of the Sox' first 3-0 start since 1992 and, predictably, the right-hander didn't budge.
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"He's pretty good," manager Robin Ventura said after the White Sox fell to Kansas City 3-1. "He moves it around. He's not a one-pitch pitcher. He can take different pitches and make it look six different ways. He's tough and finds ways to get you out in front, get you behind. He gets ahead, first-pitch strikes. He makes it tough on us."
Guthrie held the Sox to 1 run on 5 hits in 6 innings. He also had 9 strikeouts.
"I think he kind of did what (Sox starters Jake) Peavy and (Chris) Sale did," catcher Tyler Flowers said of Guthrie. "He was mixing it up, in and out, up and down. He seemed like he had pretty good command today. The guy has always had good stuff; it's just a matter of whether he can hit his spots or not. He seemed to do that more often than not today."
Dating back to last season, when he joined the Royals in a July 20 trade from the Colorado Rockies, Guthrie has pitched 35⅔ innings against the White Sox and allowed 2 earned runs for a 0.50 ERA.
The Sox finally solved the right-hander in the fifth inning.
After Flowers was hit by a pitch with two outs and Gordon Beckham (4-for-4) singled, Alejandro De Aza delivered the White Sox' first hit of the season with runners in scoring position -- an RBI single.
That was it for the day, and it wasn't nearly enough to end Guthrie's run of total dominance over the Sox.
The White Sox had a great chance to finally solve the K.C. starter in the third inning with Flowers on third base and Beckham on first with one out.
The rally fizzled when De Aza grounded into a double play. Last season, the Sox' leadoff man was doubled up only once in 585 plate appearances.
The White Sox hit 5 homers in the first 2 wins over the Royals, so manufacturing runs is still a work in progress.
"Obviously, to score runs you've got to usually have them in scoring position," Beckham said. "It'll come. That's just the way it is. We haven't strung a lot of hits together yet."
Sox starter Gavin Floyd matched Guthrie pitch for pitch through the first four innings, but Kansas City broke through for 3 runs on 3 hits and 1 error (De Aza) in the fifth.
"I didn't feel any different," Floyd said of the decisive inning. "I felt like I was attacking like I normally do. They made a couple timely hits. A groundball that had a high chop with a fast cut. It's just the way things rolled. I felt pretty good and tried to keep the team in the game."
After struggling to beat the Royals in each of the past two seasons (13-23), the White Sox can at least feel good about winning the three-game series.
"It's definitely not the end of the world," Beckham said. "We feel good about what we're doing. We played a hard game; we just didn't have it today."