White Sox 5, Royals 1
CHICAGO (AP)—Jon Garland heard the once-familiar boos when he left the game Tuesday night. They weren’t for him. Not this time.
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was heckled for pulling Garland with one out in the ninth inning, ending Garland’s shot at his third complete game of the season.
Garland allowed four hits, the last a homer in the ninth, and became the major leagues’ first 12-game winner as the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 Tuesday night.
“I love it,” Guillen said of his cold reception from the fans. “As long as they don’t boo my players, it’s fine with me.”
The 28,206 fans on hand had no reason to do that, as usual. The White Sox have won six straight to improve their major-league best record to 48-22, nine games ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
Guillen told Garland before the ninth he would pull him for Damaso Marte if he got in trouble. Garland’s first pitch of the inning was Terrence Long’s third home run of the season. One out later, on came Marte.
“It was getting harder,” Guillen said. “Remember, we still got a long way to go. He was just going to go out there to get the shutout. I talked to him before the inning started. I am going to go to win the game, not complete game or shutout.”
Garland (12-2) reached the 12-win mark for the fourth straight season, though never this fast. The quickest he ever did it previously was in his 31st start in 2002. This was his 14th start of the season. All four victory No. 12s have come against the Royals.
“I’ve done it before, this is as far as I’ve gotten,” Garland said. “I want out to go out there and keep doing as good as I’ve been doing for my team and keep pushing them.”
The 25-year-old right-hander came into the season with a 46-51 record, and a reputation for being inconsistent.
“I always believed in this kid,” Guillen said. “I’ve always believed he’s something special. I think this kid has a great future and he’s had the opportunity to show everybody and himself he belongs as a winning pitcher.”
Garland struck out two and walked one in his fourth straight win, using mostly fastballs. He is 7-0 with a 2.94 ERA at home.
“He didn’t use many of his other pitches,” said Long, who homered on a changeup. “His fastball was just that good tonight. He had that good, late movement. It was tough to square up.”
Zack Greinke (1-8) struck out a career-high eight, but gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“I don’t know how this kid is 1-8 with the stuff he got, that’s amazing,” Guillen said.
The White Sox scored two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth as they improved to 8-0 this season against the Royals, who have lost four of five overall.
“It’s easy to get locked in the way it started out, the first few innings were going real quick,” Garland said. “It’s kind of good it slowed down there in the fifth when we put up run or two. It gave me a little bit of a breather, let me collect myself and I kept the same pace of the game.”
Chicago’s runs in the fifth came on an RBI-groundout by Ozuna and Podsednik’s third single of the game.
Greinke got into trouble again in the sixth, loading the bases before getting pulled for Andrew Sisco. Sisco got A.J. Pierzynski to ground to third baseman Mark Teahen, but he bobbled the ball, allowing Paul Konerko to score before getting a force out at third. Crede then sliced a single to left for another run. Ozuna, who had one RBI this season, then picked up his second of the game with an infield single.
“I felt like I threw well,” Greinke said. “But things didn’t go great.”
Ozuna started in place of shortstop Juan Uribe, who was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a stiff lower back. Ozuna will start again Wednesday.
“Every time I put this kid in the lineup, I’m excited to see him play,” Guillen said. “We were making fun of Uribe, saying you better hurry up.”
Greinke, who had given up 21 runs in his previous three starts, cruised through the first four innings, striking out six and giving up two singles and a walk.
White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi made a tremendous play behind first base on a grounder in the third, throwing Long out from his knees. … Royals outfielder Emil Brown stretched his hitting streak to nine games. … Jonah Bayliss made his major league debut for the Royals after getting called up from Class AA Wichita earlier Tuesday, working a perfect seventh inning. Fellow Class AA call-up Justin Huber made his major-league debut as pinch-hitter in the ninth, flying out.