Vazquez goes 8 scoreless innings for White Sox

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CHICAGO (AP)—When Javier Vazquez is on, few pitchers are better.

The 30-year-old right-hander had his best start of the season Tuesday night, giving the short-handed Chicago White Sox staff a much-needed boost by throwing eight scoreless innings in a 9-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

“We needed it,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When he gets ahead of the count and makes sure he’s around the plate, this is the type of game you see from him.”

There were no blowups between the teams which brawled when they last saw each other on Aug. 3. There were a lot of White Sox highlights.

Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer, Nick Swisher and A.J. Pierzynski added solo shots and the White Sox added five runs in the eighth for a rare blowout win.

Vazquez (9-10) matched his season-high with 10 strikeouts, gave up five hits and walked one to win for the second time in nine starts. Vazquez hadn’t won at home since beating Pittsburgh on June 17, and was 1-5 since, with the victory coming against the Royals on Aug. 1.

“I felt like I’ve been throwing the ball well the last few starts, but a mistake here or there cost me,” Vazquez said. “Today I didn’t have any mistakes. … I feel really strong and healthy and we have only two months left. Important months, too.”

Pierzynski said he could call all of Vazquez’s pitches, which isn’t always the case with the often erratic veteran.

“He found his changeup again, which had kind of been gone for a little while,” Pierzynski said. “He had his normal slider and his slow curveball that he can throw with two strikes. He pretty much had four pitches going all night.”

Adam Russell completed the White Sox’s sixth shutout and first since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on June 26.

The White Sox have won the first game of the series the last two times against Kansas City but lost the series, making Guillen a little wary about celebrating.

“The main thing to me is how we play tomorrow,” Guillen said. “The last two series we face Kansas City, we do the same thing. We win the first game and all of a sudden we lose the series. I hope these guys remember that the way I do.”

Brian Bannister (7-11) lost his fifth straight decision. He gave up four hits, three for home runs. He struck out seven and walked two in seven innings. Bannister is winless in his last eight starts since beating Colorado on June 23.

“I liked his tempo and his rhythm,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “Other than the mistakes that he made for the home runs, he pitched much better.”

“I feel like there is progress being made,” Bannister said. “There’s not a ton of results right now, but I think I’m getting closer to where I need to be to help this team win a lot more ballgames in the future.”

Dye’s 28th homer came in the first inning, scoring Orlando Cabrera. Swisher added his 17th in the fifth, and Pierzynski hit his 10th in the sixth. The White Sox are 37-13 when they hit multiple homers.

“That’s the only way we’re going to win,” Guillen said with a laugh. “I think this team’s built around home run hitters. I just hope people are on base when we hit home runs.”

The White Sox put up five runs against Josh Newman in the eighth, thanks to some shoddy fielding by the Royals. With one out and a runner on third, Royals shortstop Mike Aviles let Pierzynski’s fly to shallow center drop next to him for a standup double, scoring Juan Uribe. Dye followed with an RBI double and left fielder Jose Guillen then committed a two-base error, dropping Jim Thome’s fly ball at the wall.

“We didn’t help him a whole lot,” Hillman said of Newman, who was making his first appearance since getting called up Sunday after the Royals dealt reliever Horacio Ramirez to the White Sox. “There were two balls that definitely should have been caught and we couldn’t find the handle.”

Paul Konerko drove in Dye from third with a sacrifice fly and Brian Anderson added a run-scoring double. Chris Getz, just called up from the minors Sunday, ripped an RBI single to center in his first major league at-bat.

The Royals’ first two hits were ripped past first for extra bases. Alex Gordon tripled off the glove of a diving Konerko with two outs in the second and Aviles doubled with two out in the third. Vazquez stranded both.

The White Sox were without outfielder Carlos Quentin, who was a late scratch with soreness in his left forearm. Swisher started in left and Konerko at first. Guillen said Quentin will miss Wednesday’s game as well.

Notes

Vazquez has struck out 10 four times this year and 37 times in his career. … Royals LHP Ron Mahay, who hasn’t pitched since last Thursday after experiencing pain in his left foot, threw before the game and reported no pain. Hillman said Mahay is still day-to-day. … OF David DeJesus, who sat out Sunday’s 5-4 win over Minnesota with a sore hip, was back in the Royals’ lineup, batting third. … Quentin has been hit by a pitch in five straight games— the first player since 1920 with that long a streak, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Guillen said he expects injured 3B Joe Crede (back) to being a much-delayed rehab stint this week. … The Royals have lost five of six.

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