Jim Thome homers twice as Chicago White Sox beat Kansas City Royals 7-0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Jose Contreras gave his daughters the birthday present they wanted.
“I spoke with my two daughters earlier today and tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s birthday,” Contreras said through an interpreter. “Then two days afterward, it is my oldest daughter’s birthday. They asked me to throw a nine-inning shutout. I said, ‘Don’t you want another present? Can you ask for something else?”’
Contreras delivered on the requests on Naylan and Naylenis.
“Wherever A.J. (Pierzysnki) put the glove, I was able to hit it,” Contreras said. “I was able to throw strike one fastballs. Today everything was working. I felt strong from the get-go, coming out from the bullpen. It was, obviously, my best outing this year. Even though I’ve had a bad year, this is by far the best I’ve felt.”
Contreras (10-16) held the Royals to one hit—a Billy Butler second inning single—in the first five innings. He did not allow a runner reach second until Jason LaRue’s one-out double in the sixth. LaRue had two of the Royals hits.
Contreras, who is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his past five games, walked one, while striking out six for his third career shutout. His previous was May 10 at Minnesota. The five hits matched a career low for a shutout.
Thome homered with one out in the third and leading off the fifth, bringing his career total to 502 and his season total to 30. Thome, who had 36 home runs in 141 games against the Royals, has hit 30 or more home runs in 11 of the past 12 years.
“I think it was a backdoor cutter,” Thome said of his first home run. “(Brian) Bannister is a guy you’ve got to be ready to hit. He doesn’t walk a whole lot of guys. The last time we faced him in Chicago, he pitched very well against us.”
It was Thome’s 40th career multihomer game. His previous was Aug. 18 at Seattle.
“I hope my entire career we are together, so I don’t have to face him,” Contreras said, laughing.
The veteran right-hander, who never allowed a runner to reach third base, was 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in his previous two starts this season against Kansas City.
Bannister (12-9), an American League Rookie of the Year candidate who was 7-2 in his previous 11 starts, was roughed up for six runs and eight hits, including three home runs, in five innings.
“It was not one of Bannister’s better outings,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He was up in the zone.”
Bannister also gave up a two-run homer to Juan Uribe in the fourth.
“There are a lot of external things in my head right now that don’t need to be there,” Bannister said. “I’m not pitching relaxed and I’m not executing the pitches the way that I normally do. When I miss, my pitches get up in the zone, they straighten out and are a lot easier to hit.”
The White Sox scored two runs in the first on two hits and a walk. Paul Konerko’s ground out scored Josh Fields, who had walked and stopped at third on Thome’s double. Jermaine Dye singled home Thome.
The White Sox added a run in the seventh off left-hander Jorge De La Rosa when Dye’s single scored Fields.
The Royals have lost 11 of 14 to drop into the AL Central cellar, a half-game behind the White Sox.