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CHICAGO (AP) – Bruce Chen outpitched Jake Peavy for his first win in six weeks, Billy Butler hit his career-high 22nd homer and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 5-2 on Tuesday night.
The White Sox had won 10 of 13 but saw their lead over Detroit in the AL Central shrink to a half game with the Tigers beating the New York Yankees 6-5 earlier in the night.
Gordon Beckham hit his first career leadoff homer for Chicago, and the White Sox scored again in the sixth after Kansas City tied it in the top half. But RBI singles by Tony Abreu and Alex Gordon off Peavy (9-8) in the seventh gave Kansas City a 3-2 lead.
Butler added to it in the eighth with a two-run drive off Nate Jones after Mike Moustakas walked, and the Royals hung on from there, giving Chen (8-9) his first win since June 26.
The left-hander gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings and finally came out on top after going 0-3 in his previous seven starts. Greg Holland retired the side in the ninth for his second save in four chances.
Peavy also gave up seven hits in 6 2-3 innings but was a tough-luck loser after beating Minnesota in his previous two starts. He found his control after walking the game’s first two batters, issuing just one the rest of the way, but he couldn’t protect the lead after the White Sox went up 2-1.
The Royals had runners on first and third with one out in the seventh after Jeff Francoeur reached on a bunt down the third-base line and Eric Hosmer singled. Abreu then tied it with a single to left, and although Hosmer got thrown out at third by Dayan Viciedo, the Royals weren’t finished.
Jarrod Dyson just beat out a single to second after Gordon Beckham made a diving stop on his grounder, and Gordon then chased Peavy with a single to center that made it 3-2.
Things were looking good for the White Sox in the early going.
Beckham gave them the early lead with his drive to left-center in the first, after delivering the tiebreaking solo shot the previous night. He now has 11 homers, and the recent power surge ended a drought that dated to June 20.
The Royals finally got a run in the sixth when Gordon singled and scored on Moustakas’ sacrifice fly. Dunn put the White Sox ahead with an RBI single in the bottom half before Kansas City regained the lead.
Notes: The only other White Sox player with a leadoff homer this season was Alejandro De Aza against Cleveland on April 9. … The White Sox scratched Kevin Youkilis from their lineup because of a sore right knee. Youkilis was penciled in to bat second and play third base. Instead, the White Sox inserted Ray Olmedo into the lineup at third and had him bat ninth while juggling several other spots in the order. … Jordan Danks got his second straight start in center field with De Aza bothered by tightness in his back. “I just want to get better,” De Aza said. “I’d rather lose two or three days instead of trying to play and it gets worse.” … Jeremy Guthrie goes for his first win as a Royal, while Jose Quintana starts for the White Sox on Wednesday. Guthrie is 0-3 with the Royals after going 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA in 15 starts and 19 appearances for Colorado. Quintana has four no-decisions since the All-Star break.
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