Davies keeps White Sox from extending Central lead
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Kyle Davies may have discovered something that he can take into the 2009 season.
David DeJesus hit an inside-the-park home run, and Alex Gordon and Kila Ka’aihue also homered for the Royals, who won for the eighth time in nine games. The White Sox have lost nine of their past 13 road games.
The White Sox remained 2 1/2 games in front of the Minnesota Twins, who lost 7-2 at Tampa Bay earlier Saturday, in the American League Central.
Davies (8-7), who has allowed just seven hits and two runs in 15 innings in winning his past two starts, yielded leadoff singles to Orlando Cabrera and Jim Thome in the first and second innings, but erased both with double plays. Davies faced the minimum number of batters in the first seven innings, retiring 17 in a row in one stretch.
“It’s the tempo that has changed the whole thing and the mind-set on the mound,” Davies said. “It’s not trying to hit corners. Let’s give my best stuff to home plate and see what happens. That’s been working the last couple of games because I’ve been locating the ball a whole lot better that way.
“Baseball is such a fickle game. You never want to say, ‘OK, well I’ve found it,’ because nobody I don’t think has found it. You try to get better every single start. They’ve got a real good lineup over there, no question. My key thing was to try to take the momentum I had my last start, the tempo and everything and just get a little bit better than I was last time. I don’t know if I got better, but it was no less.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was impressed with Davies.
“He pitched really good, give him some credit,” Guillen said. “Double plays hurts us the first and second innings. We never got anything going. After the double plays, he just dominated everyone.”
Joakim Soria worked the ninth to log his 41st save in 44 opportunities, but not before some dramatics. He walked Dewayne Wise to lead off the inning and A.J. Pierzynski reached on an infield single. Jermaine Dye drove a pitch to the left-field bullpen fence, where Mark Teahen caught it, before Soria struck out Thome to end the game.
“I thought the ball would go out, but this is a pretty big ball park,” Dye said.
Davies, who is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his past four starts, lost his shutout bid in the eighth when he walked Thome and Alexei Ramirez hit his 20th homer.
“I just look forward to his next outing,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “We’ve seen it back-to-back. He is so locked in right now. The recipe was pretty much more the same. I think he’s gotten to a point where he realizes he has the ability to let every pitch go max effort. He’s got some of the horse in him. There’s no way he can’t build off that confidence even if the stuff is not exactly the same the next outing.”
Gordon homered, his 15th, with Teahen aboard in the second inning.
DeJesus’ drive in the third landed high off the right-field wall as Dye fell down while attempting to catch it. DeJesus extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Ka’aihue, who hit 37 home runs in the minors this season to earn a September call-up, hit his first big league homer, deep into the right-field seats, in the seventh.
“This was my first curtain call ever,” Ka’aihue said. “A bunch of guys said go up there. I was so happy, my first home run. It was fun. Some guys were pranking me. They tore up a ball and gave it to me, but I threw it away. I got the real one.”
Gavin Floyd (16-8) took the loss, only his second in 12 starts since July 19, giving up five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, while striking out four and walking none.
Alberto Callaspo doubled, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games, to chase Floyd in the seventh. Mike Aviles contributed a run-producing double in the seventh off Mike MacDougal, the third White Sox pitcher of the inning.
The Royals won their 70th game, their highest win total since winning 83 in 2003. …Ramirez became the seventh White Sox rookie to hit 20 home runs in a season.