CHICAGO (AP) — Ian Kennedy and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, and the Kansas City Royals beat Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox, 2-0, on Sunday.
Kendrys Morales homered on Sale’s first pitch of the second and Eric Hosmer did the same in the fourth. The Royals won their second straight to stay four games behind Baltimore for the final AL wild-card spot.
Kennedy (11-9) walked four, but Adam Eaton’s leadoff single was the only hit off the right-hander in six innings. He improved to 5-0 in his last six starts.
Peter Moylan and Kelvin Herrera each threw a perfect inning before Wade Davis worked around Eaton’s single and a walk in the ninth for his 24th save.
Sale (15-8) struck out 12 in eight innings while becoming the first White Sox pitcher with four consecutive 200-strikeout seasons. It was his third game of 10 or more strikeouts this season and No. 34 for his career.
But Sale, who has gone at least eight innings in five straight starts, has just one win since starting for the AL in the All-Star Game.
Kennedy, who struck out six, stymied Chicago despite occasional control issues amid his late-season turnaround.
He walked the bases loaded in the third with two out before Melky Cabrera flied to right. Kennedy worked around another walk in the fifth when Tyler Saladino lined to the mound to start a double play.
Davis got Jose Abreu to line to right and struck out Justin Morneau with two on to close the Royals’ fifth win in 11 games. They have to jump five teams over the final 20 games to reach the playoffs for the third straight year.
Royals: Manager Ned Yost said OF Lorenzo Cain (sprained left wrist) will see a specialist and they’ll decide in a week if he’ll be shut down for the season. “We’re just doing everything we can right now,” Cain said. “Hopefully, I can get back on the field.” … C Salvador Perez started a second straight game in his return from a wrist injury. “Salvy is a different scenario, it’s just a bone contusion,” Yost said.
White Sox: Sale stayed in after taking a liner off his knee in the third. He recovered to throw out Paulo Orlando at first.
The 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit home for both managers. Chicago’s Robin Ventura was playing for the Mets and Yost was with the Braves then. The teams faced off in the first game in New York after the attack.
Both men brought up the significance of Mike Piazza’s game-winning home run.
“People could cheer, people could hug each other and laugh and root for their team again,” Ventura said.
Royals: Oakland comes to Kansas City for four games, with Royals RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.34 ERA) facing LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.15 ERA) on Monday.
White Sox: AL Central-leading Cleveland visits for four games starting Monday, with RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-6, 3.81 ERA) facing RHP Carlos Carrasco (11-7, 3.15 ERA).
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.