KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mark Buehrle lasted seven innings in another impressive start, and the Chicago White Sox capitalized on an error by young shortstop Alcides Escobar to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on a steamy Monday night.
Buehrle (7-5) hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last 14 starts going back to April 22, though his modest record doesn’t indicate how well he’s been pitching.
The veteran left-hander, in the final year of a four-year, $56 million contract, allowed five hits while winning for the first time since June 9. Buehrle struck out three and walked one while throwing 111 pitches in 95-degree temperatures. The heat index at Kauffman Stadium was 102 at first pitch.
Buehrle turned it over to Jesse Crain, who worked a perfect eighth inning. Matt Thornton retired the first two batters of the ninth before Sergio Santos wrapped up the win.
Kyle Davies (1-9) pitched about as well as he has all season for Kansas City and still got saddled with his eighth consecutive loss. The hot topic of local talk radio, Davies hasn’t won since beating the Minnesota Twins on April 13 and is 0-3 since going on the disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.
The beleaguered Royals starter set a career high with nine strikeouts in only 5 1-3 innings on Monday night. But Davies was pulled after 106 pitches when the 24-year-old Escobar threw the ball away while trying to start a double play on a routine grounder with the game tied in the sixth inning.
The ball zipped past second baseman Chris Getz and finally was corralled by first baseman Eric Hosmer, but not before Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski were standing on second and third.
Mark Teahan followed with a chopping groundout to first base that allowed Pierzynski to score the go-ahead run, and Juan Pierre followed with an RBI double that gave Chicago a 4-2 lead.
Beckham tacked on another run with an RBI groundout in the eighth.
The White Sox (47-49), coming off a 4-3 loss at Detroit on Sunday in which they blew a 3-0 lead, climbed back within two games of .500. Not bad for a club that started the season 11-22.
Kansas City (38-58), meanwhile, dropped a season-worst 20 games below the break-even mark.
Davies gave the Royals a chance, at one point getting seven straight outs with strikeouts. But he also allowed a leadoff triple to Pierre that turned into a run on Alexei Ramirez’s sacrifice fly, and another run in the third when Ramirez singled and came home on Paul Konerko’s double.
The only spot of trouble Buehrle ran into came in the fifth inning, when Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler drove in the Royals’ only runs. Chicago answered with a little help from some balky defense, dooming the Royals to another frustrating defeat in a summer full of them.
Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his foot Sunday at Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said that Gordon received treatment Monday and he shouldn’t be out too long. … Ozzie Guillen reiterated his support for bringing back Buehrle next season, but the White Sox manager also said it won’t be his decision. “I wish it was in my hands, but it isn’t,” he said.