KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kevan Smith is on the board, but the Chicago White Sox came away empty in most of their scoring opportunities on Saturday night.
Smith singled to lead off the fifth for his first major league hit in his 10th at-bat, but the White Sox lost 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals, who snapped a five-game losing streak.
“A little weight lifted off the shoulders, that’s for sure,” Smith said. “Got into a good count, 3-0, and then I was sitting heater and he gave it to me. So, I just try to stay through the middle and it worked out like I planned, so, it’s certainly a good feeling.”
Smith, who was starting his third game and his second behind the plate since a Sept. 1 call-up, said he received “a bunch of messages” on his phone, congratulating him.
“It’s almost like you’re on a cloud,” Smith said when his hit cleared the infield. “I mean, it’s kind of surreal because you know there was no chance on that ball, not like that ball in Minnesota where (Brian) Dozier just laid out for it and made that crazy play. But, this time it was a for sure thing, so it was a nice easy jog to first.”
The White Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
“We had opportunities,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We hit the ball pretty good, got some guys on base, just couldn’t cash them in.”
Melky Cabrera drove in a run in the first with a one-out single, but the White Sox stranded two runners.
Avisail Garcia’s double, which struck the third base bag, scored Jose Abreu in the eighth for the final White Sox run. The White Sox had Cabrera at third and Garcia at second, but Joakim Soria retired pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck on a ground ball to end the inning.
Jason Vargas, who was making his first start in 423 days after having Tommy John surgery on August 5, 2015, retired eight of the last nine White Sox batters he faced.
Vargas was pulled after 52 pitches and three innings. Dillon Gee (7-8) replaced Vargas and held the White Sox to one run and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Jarrod Dyson, who is 10 for 15 off White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez (4-7), singled to lead off the first, advanced to second on Whit Merrifield’s bunt single, stole second and scored on Kendrys Morales’ sacrifice fly.
“It’s a game of inches,” Gonzalez said. “I made some good pitches. Really, the fifth inning was the one that got me. I got a little tired. I had to work there a bit more and nothing you can do.”
Dyson, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, also singled in the Royals’ two-run fifth. Hunter Dozier, who was making his second major league start, and Eric Hosmer delivered run-producing singles in the inning, which Alcides Escobar opened with a triple.
Wade Davis struck out all three batters in faced for his 25th save in 28 chances.
Ned Yost picked up his 1,000th career victory as a manager. He is the 62nd manager in big league history to reach that total. “You’re 62 years old. I don’t want to go home and drop dead of a heart attack at 999,” Yost said and laughed. “I’d like to at least try to get to a thousand and then I can go any time after that.”
The Royals designated RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who went 6-0 with a 4.22 ERA in 32 bullpen outings, for assignment. Wang won 19 games in back-to-back seasons, 2006-07 with the Yankees, before injuries derailed his career.
White Sox: DH Justin Morneau has not played since Monday, when he hurt his neck swinging against the Indians. “Old man neck,” Morneau said. “I just have to be patient with it.” Morneau said if his neck keeps improving he would take some swings Sunday and “maybe available Monday would be great.” … IF Tyler Saladino did not play after injuring his left calf Friday. “Just a little tweak, so he’s getting treatment,” Ventura said.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana is 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy is 0-1 with three no-decisions since an Aug. 21 victory over Minnesota.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.