Lynch, 4 relievers lead Royals to 3-2 win over White Sox
CHICAGO (AP) — Daniel Lynch and four relievers held the Chicago White Sox in check, and Emmanuel Rivera’s line drive was misplayed into an early two-run double Thursday night that helped the Kansas City Royals hang on for a 3-2 victory.
Kansas City won its second consecutive game, while the AL Central-leading White Sox lost for the ninth time in their last 14.
Chicago has scored two runs or fewer in three of its past four games.
“We’ve got to have a better strike zone,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “We did some chasing tonight.”
White Sox designated hitter Eloy Jimenez hit a two-out RBI double that snapped an 0-for-13 slump, but reliever Scott Barlow ranged quickly to his right to field a grounder by Andrew Vaughn for the final out of the eighth.
Jake Brentz worked a hitless ninth for his first major league save.
“My adrenaline was through the roof,” Brentz said.
Lynch (2-3) pitched five-plus innings of one-run ball. He limited the White Sox to four hits and has given up only four runs over his last 19 innings.
“I thought his slider was really good,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He had some tough-looking swings from some very good hitters.”
Lynch gained some redemption for a May 8 start against Chicago in which he allowed eight runs on seven hits in two-thirds of an inning
“It’s on your mind a little bit,” he said. “But I knew I’d have to battle, so I framed it that way.”
The Royals’ bullpen has held the White Sox to one run over its last nine innings.
Josh Staumont bailed Lynch out of a jam by getting Vaughn to ground into a double play with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base, and first baseman Carlos Santana made a diving stop to rob Yoan Moncada of an extra-base hit to end the sixth.
White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel (7-5) gave up a two-run double to Rivera with two outs in the first. Center fielder Adam Engel stepped to his left, only to see Rivera’s line drive sail behind him.
La Russa said he heard Engel say he lost track of the ball in the lights.
“I certainly don’t want to pound him,” La Russa said. “I think he lost it for a minute. When you play nine innings, that shouldn’t have been the ballgame. But I think that’s what happened.”
Chicago slugger Jose Abreu hit his second home run in two games, a solo shot off Lynch in the first. It marked the seventh time Abreu has reached 20 homers in a season, tying Harold Baines for third on the franchise list behind Paul Konerko (13) and Frank Thomas (11).
Abreu’s 218th homer moved him within three of Baines for fourth place in club history. Last year’s AL MVP has at least one RBI in each of his last six games.
Edward Olivares hit his third homer in four games for the Royals, a solo shot off reliever Reynaldo Lopez that barely eluded Engel’s glove in right-center.
After Rivera’s double, Keuchel retired 11 of the next 13 batters until Santana led off the sixth with a single. Vaughn, making his second start in right field, made a diving catch to rob Rivera of a hit to end the inning.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield stole his major league-leading 29th base in the seventh. After getting thrown out on his first attempt of the season, Merrifield has 29 consecutive stolen bases. His streak trails only Carlos Beltran (33, 1999-2001), Willie Wilson (32, 1980) and Alcides Escobar (30, 2012-14) for the longest in team history.
The White Sox fell to 34-11 in games against left-handed starters.
White Sox: Jimenez will start Friday in left field when the White Sox face the Cubs at Wrigley Field, La Russa said. Jimenez hasn’t played left since July 27, one day before sustaining a groin strain that has relegated him to DH the last three games. ... OF Luis Robert (hip flexor tear) won’t join the White Sox this weekend and will instead remain on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. “But it’s gotten to the point where it’s imminent,” La Russa said. ... OF Jake Lamb (right quadriceps strain) is close to concluding his rehab assignment at Charlotte. “You may see him sooner rather than later,” La Russa said.
Royals: LHP Mike Minor (8-9, 5.31 ERA) opens a three-game series Friday night at St. Louis. Minor allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings of a 4-0 loss Saturday at Toronto.
White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.07 ERA) takes the mound Friday against the crosstown-rival Cubs in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
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