Buehrle baffles Royals, White Sox win 6th straight

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CHICAGO (AP)—Mark Buehrle’s(notes) on a nice roll. His team, the Chicago White Sox, is on a tear.

“I think everybody knows the way we’re playing, everybody is having fun right now,” Buehrle said Friday night after his pitching and A.J. Pierzynski’s(notes) two homers led an 8-2 win over the Kansas City Royals—Chicago’s sixth straight victory and 23rd in 28 games.

“I don’t know how to explain why we’re playing so good, but whatever we’re doing, just keep on doing it,” Buehrle added.

Buehrle took a line drive off his right (non-throwing) wrist on Scott Podsednik’s(notes) leadoff single in the first, but was not seriously injured. The left-hander allowed six hits in seven-plus innings and was replaced by Sergio Santos(notes) after walking David DeJesus(notes) to start the eighth.

“It got me pretty good. That half inning I felt it a little bit, but they didn’t even take X-rays. They looked at it and it totally feels fine now,” Buehrle said.

But it was a scary moment for the White Sox, especially after right-hander Jake Peavy(notes) revealed Friday he would have season-ending surgery next Wednesday on a detached muscle behind his right shoulder.

Buehrle (8-7) is 5-1 in his last six starts with a 2.23 ERA as Chicago’s pitching continues to be the major reason for the team’s surge.

His performance followed a two-hit shutout by John Danks(notes) against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. The White Sox (47-38) are a season-high nine games over .500 and remained a half-game behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.

“Obviously you go out and try to do a better job than the guy did before you,” said Buehrle, who allowed two baserunners in three of the first five innings.

“I just had to make pitches. Every inning guys were getting on base,” Buehrle said. “It’s just one of those things where you just kind of find it as the game goes along.”

Kansas City had its three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the third time in 11 games. The Royals were coming off a sweep of the Mariners in Seattle.

“We tried to get his pitch count up and we were successful at that a little in the early innings but he got settled down, started banging strikes, kept the ball down real low and was getting the low strike called for him which helped him a lot,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Buehrle.

Pierzynski, who entered the game in a 1-for-17 slide, had a solo homer in the fourth and a three-run shot in the eighth, giving him six homers this season. Andruw Jones(notes), who had been 2 for 23, had three hits, including a two-run single in the second off the left field fence.

“Those two guys need it badly, especially A.J,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “A.J has been struggling for the last couple of weeks. … We need Andruw because from now on we’re going to start to face a lot of lefties. We need him to get hot.”

Yuniesky Betancourt(notes) hit a two-run homer in the ninth for Kansas City off Jeffrey Marquez.

Paul Konerko(notes) and Carlos Quentin(notes) began the second with singles and, after Pierzynski sacrificed, Jones hit his two-run single.

Pierzynski’s first homer finished Kansas City starter Bruce Chen(notes) (5-3) after 3 1-3 innings, his shortest start of the season. Slowed by a bout with strep throat, Chen gave up six hits and three runs.

“I felt fine enough to pitch,” Chen said. “I just got beat. I don’t think it’s fair for me to say I wasn’t 100 percent.”

Gordon Beckham(notes) had a leadoff double in the fifth off reliever Kanekoa Texeira(notes), Juan Pierre(notes) followed with a bunt single and Beckham scored on Alexei Ramirez’s(notes) double-play grounder to make it 4-0.

Konerko hit a two-out RBI double in the eighth off Victor Marte(notes). After a walk to Quentin, Pierzynski connected again.

NOTES: Buehrle is 21-11 against the Royals and 1-2 this season. … Royals OF Jose Guillen(notes), who strained a quadriceps muscle Tuesday, was out of the lineup. … Buehrle threw a season-high 114 pitches.

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