CHICAGO (AP)—Mark Buehrle never would have predicted he’d have this kind of outing—not based on his warmups.
“Today I was doing the rain dance in the first inning, hoping the rain would come because I felt that bad in the bullpen,” Buehrle said. “Today was one of those days where I hope I don’t feel like this too often.”
It’s a good thing the dance didn’t work.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit an RBI single in the first inning then made a sliding catch in the second, and Jermaine Dye added an RBI double to help keep the White Sox a half-game ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
The White Sox played without slugger Carlos Quentin for the second straight game. Quentin, who is tied for the major league lead with 32 home runs, was struck on the left forearm by a pitch from Josh Beckett on Monday night. He has been hit by a pitch in five straight games—the first player since 1920 with that long of a streak, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He has been hit 19 times overall—most in the majors.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Quentin will be back in the lineup on Thursday.
The left-hander struck out five and walked none in improving to 7-3 at home with a 2.72 ERA. Buehrle is 18-8 lifetime against the Royals, but in his last outing against Kansas City, he gave up eight runs on 14 hits in just 4 1-3 innings.
“It’s one of those things that are going to happen and you got to throw them out,” he said. “You’re not going to get anywhere by thinking about your last start, or what happened the last time against these guys.”
Orlando Cabrera led off the first with a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop for an infield single and advanced to second when Tony Pena Jr.’s throw sailed over first baseman Billy Butler’s head for an error. Cabrera advanced to third on A.J. Pierzynski’s sacrifice.
Dye then doubled to center for a 1-0 lead. After a walk to Paul Konerko, Griffey hit a single to right, scoring Dye from second, and is batting .200 in 30 at-bats for Chicago.
In the top of the second, Griffey helped Buehrle in the field by making a sliding catch on Miguel Olivo’s ball with a runner on first.
“It’s hard when you (get) traded, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. I think Junior has swung the bat better the last couple of days,” Guillen said. “Hopefully little by little he gets there. He’s fine.”
Juan Uribe led off the fifth inning with a single. Chris Getz, making his first major league start at second base, singled with Uribe running on the pitch. Uribe then advanced to third and scored on Pierzynski’s groundout to put the White Sox up 3-0.
Royals starter Luke Hochevar (6-11) allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked one but got little help from his offense that was shutout for the second consecutive day.
“We had seven quality at-bats tonight in 32 plate appearances. We have to swing at better pitches. … That’s pathetic,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “When you have seven quality at-bats in 32 plate appearances you’re not going to beat anybody, much less a first place team.”
Hochevar was happy with his performance after the first inning.
“I really feel that I executed the ball down in the zone after the first inning. I settled in and made a lot of pitches. I was ahead in the count and got the counts in my favor,” Hochevar. For the most part, in my last four starts I feel like I’ve been inducing a lot of groundballs and pitching to my game.”
Konerko made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the eighth off Royals reliever Leo Nunez.
The White Sox agreed to terms on a minor league contract with INF Gordon Beckham. He was the eighth overall pick in the draft. … White Sox 2B Alexei Ramirez was given the night off. … White Sox right-hander Lance Broadway will make his first start of the season on Thursday against the Royals. … White Sox pitching delivered back-to-back shutouts. The last time they did it was April 12-13 against Detroit.