CHICAGO (AP)—Willie Harris knows he needs to make the most of his diminishing playing time.
Harris was pushed out of the everyday lineup when the White Sox acquired second baseman Roberto Alomar in a trade with Arizona last Thursday.
“With a guy like Robbie coming in, a guy who is an All-Star, a Gold Glove, a future Hall of Famer, I know he is going to play,” Harris said. “I’m not trying to fool myself or look around that. Whenever called upon I’m just trying to do the best job I could.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen likes the pressure Alomar’s presence is putting on the rest of the team.
“That’s one of the reasons we brought him here in the first place, to help boost the guys and play at a higher level,” Guillen said.
Joe Crede also hit a two-run homer for Chicago, which won for only the fourth time in 16 games. Harris has reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances.
Kansas City has lost five straight to fall a season-low 33 games under .500 at 39-72, the worst record after 111 games in the franchise’s 36-year history.
Before the game, the Royals optioned AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa to Double-A Wichita. He was batting just .249 with five home runs and 30 RBIs. Last year, the shortstop hit .287 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs in his first full season on a major league roster.
White Sox starter Jon Garland pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out four and walked one.
Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper had a chat with Garland after he gave up consecutive singles in the fourth.
“I told him to just send a message. I told him to tell him he’s really bugging me right now,” Guillen said.
Garland talked about the conversation after the game.
“He told me to bear down and attack the zone and I pretty much came right back and said I have been. The one guy got on with a broken-bat hit, but it happened. So I had to stay within myself and pitch my game and I ended up getting a groundball and getting out of the inning,” Garland said.
Garland (8-8) earned his first win since July 9. He retired his last 10 batters, starting with Joe Randa’s groundout in the fourth.
“He threw a lot of strikes and mixed up his changeup. All we can do is be aggressive with him,” Kansas City’s David DeJesus said.
Trailing 3-0 in the third, the White Sox came back and tied it. Royals starter Zach Greinke gave up a leadoff single to Harris and walked Aaron Rowand. Lee followed with a three-run homer to left. It was his 21st of the season.
Harris led off the fifth with a single and, two outs later, Konerko homered to center on an 0-2 pitch. It was Konerko’s 29th of the year, tying New York’s Alex Rodriguez for the AL lead.
The White Sox padded their lead in the sixth. Jose Valentin led off with a double and Crede homered with two outs off Greinke to make it 7-3.
Harris added an RBI double and Lee a sacrifice fly in the eighth, making it 9-3.
Lee finished with four RBIs. Harris became the first White Sox player to get five hits in a game since Chris Singleton on April 22, 2000, against Detroit.
Greinke (4-9) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up three home runs.
“He made two mistakes. Other than that he threw the ball really well. He’s going to learn from tonight. He’s pitched back-to-back games and bounced back. He’s only 20,” Royals manager Tony Pena said.
DeJesus led off the Kansas City third with a single and moved to third on Randa’s single. DeJesus scored on Mike Sweeney’s fielder’s choice. One out later, Abraham Nunez hit an RBI single, and Ruben Mateo followed with an RBI triple.
The Royals called up SS Andres Blanco from Wichita to fill Berroa’s roster spot. In another move, the Royals optioned right-hander Ryan Bukvich to Triple-A Omaha and called up righty Jorge Vasquez from Wichita. … Chicago LHP Scott Schoeneweis will have scope surgery and miss at least a month. Schoeneweis was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with left elbow inflammation. … DeJesus extended his hitting streak to 11 games.