Royals 13, White Sox 9

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CHICAGO (AP)—Aaron Guiel and the Kansas City Royals aren’t quite ready to hand over control of their division.

Guiel hit a three-run double in a seven-run sixth inning and Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox 13-9 Monday night to extend its AL Central lead to three games.

The Royals snapped a five-game losing skid to the second-place White Sox and recaptured some of the momentum they lost after being swept by Chicago in a three-game series at home last week.

“When we had that series in Kansas City, I think what they thought was, ‘Now it’s our turn to step to the front and run with this,”’ Guiel said. “Tonight was such an important game because they felt like maybe they were going to overtake us.”

Instead, the White Sox fell further behind.

Chicago pulled within one percentage point of Kansas City by sweeping the Royals and taking the first of three games against Seattle. But three straight losses have knocked the White Sox back in the standings and left them desperate to gain some ground.

“We just fell behind KC another game and we can’t let them leave up more than three on us,” Frank Thomas said. “We definitely need these next two games. We’ve got to find a win.”

Angel Berroa drove in three runs, and Dee Brown had a career-high four hits as the Royals countered three White Sox homers with a flurry of singles, sacrifices and timely hitting.

Hardly exciting stuff, but it’s what works for the Royals.

“We’re two different ballclubs. They depend on power, we depend on the little things,” manager Tony Pena said. “We have been able to come back— tonight was exactly what we’ve been doing the whole year.”

Kansas City scored seven times in the sixth to take a 10-6 lead. Guiel hit a liner to the left-center gap, and Berroa’s double scored two. Berroa had two hits in the sixth, and Brent Mayne and Raul Ibanez added RBIs in an inning that saw both White Sox manager Jerry Manuel and reliever Matt Ginter ejected.

Manuel and Ginter were tossed after the right-hander hit Ibanez with a pitch—the third hit batsman of the game.

“They’re a scrappy club,” Manuel said. “I thought we had a real opportunity with the 6-3 lead.”

Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (6-4) went five shaky innings for the win.

Thomas homered for his 2,000th career hit. Joe Crede and Jose Valentin also connected.

Crede’s three-run homer capped a four-run fifth and put Chicago up 6-3. Valentin added an RBI single in the fifth.

However, the White Sox bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

Recently acquired Scott Schoeneweis (2-2) came in for starter Jon Garland and failed to get an out, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk before leaving to boos.

Chicago added two in the sixth to make it 10-8 on Ken Harvey’s throwing error and Thomas’ long homer to left-center. The White Sox slugger emerged from the dugout for a curtain call.

Thomas was in no mood to celebrate the accomplishment.

“Milestones don’t matter,” he said. “We had that 6-3 lead, but things got crazy. They’ve played total team baseball all year.”

Valentin homered in the seventh to cut the deficit to 10-9, but the Royals added three runs in the ninth on an error by Crede at third and RBI singles by Brown and Joe Randa.

Al Levine, acquired from Tampa Bay just before the trade deadline, pitched two perfect innings for his first save.

Royals outfielder Michael Tucker was carried off on a stretcher in the sixth after fouling a ball off his right leg. X-rays revealed just a bone bruise and Tucker returned to the dugout with crutches. He is day-to-day.

Neither team’s starter was effective. Hernandez gave up six runs in five innings on eight hits and four walks. Garland lasted five innings, allowing four runs on six hits.

Kansas City took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Desi Relaford and Brown and a sacrifice fly by Berroa.

The White Sox went up 1-0 in the first on an RBI single by Carl Everett. Chicago added another run in the second when Hernandez walked three batters with two outs to force in a run.

Hernandez got out of the inning when Magglio Ordonez hit a liner right atsecond baseman Relaford with the bases loaded.

Notes

The attendance of 43,922 was Chicago’s fourth-largest crowd of the season. … Pena complained after the game that White Sox runners on second were tipping pitch locations. … Hernandez hit Thomas with a pitch in the first inning. Guiel was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. Garland knockedTucker down in the second, drawing cheers from the crowd.

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