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Royals 3, White Sox 2

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- The Kansas City Royals were eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday night, but that didn't detract from their effort a day later.

The Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field in the opening game of the final series of the season for both teams.

The victory was the Royals' 84th of the season, which are the most wins in 20 years.

The Royals also set a new franchise record for strikeouts in a season as a pitching staff when Luke Hochevar fanned Marcus Semien for the second out of the eighth inning -- which was the team's 1,178th of the year.

Meanwhile, starter Jeremy Guthrie finished his season on a high note by picking up his 15th win -- a career high. David Lough's two-run homer highlighted the Royals' offensive effort, while closer Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his 46th save, which also set a new franchise mark that was set in 1983 by Dan Quisenberry.

Andre Rienzo took the loss for Chicago despite posting a quality start. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko each hit home runs to lead the White Sox, who dropped their third game in a row and fell to 6-21 in their last 27 games. It was also Chicago's 59th game decided by one run, which is the most in the majors. Their record in those games fell to 23-36.

After Dunn's mammoth 442-foot solo shot to right field tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth, the Royals surged ahead 3-2 in the top of the seventh on three singles and a throwing error by White Sox catcher Bryan Anderson.

Rienzo went six-plus innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits. It just wasn't good enough to top Guthrie, who lasted seven innings and only allowed two runs on the long solo homers by Konerko and Dunn.

Guthrie became just the third Royals pitcher since 1997 to record at least 15 wins in a season, joining Paul Byrd (17 in 2002) and Zack Greinke (16 in 2009).

The second-inning homer was vintage Konerko. After a frustrating season dealing with a power-sapping back issue, he finally turned on a 1-1 fastball from Guthrie and smoked it deep into the seats in left field an estimated 415 feet away for a 1-0 lead.

The home run led off Chicago's half of the second after Rienzo escaped a jam in the top half by stranding runners at second and third with a strikeout of George Kottaras.

The Royals grabbed the lead on Lough's blast in the fourth off Rienzo. Lough drilled a line-drive homer to right field off a 2-0 fastball, also scoring Mike Moustakas and giving the Royals a 2-1 lead.

NOTES: White Sox C Tyler Flowers met with reporters before the game for the first time since undergoing a season-ending surgical procedure on his throwing shoulder Sept. 5. Flowers does not anticipate any delay to his offseason work to prepare for next year. ... White Sox INF Jeff Keppinger was scheduled to undergo right shoulder surgery Thursday. ... Chicago finished with its worst road record in team history at 26-55, which "topped" the 27-54 mark of the 1969 Sox. ... Kansas City sat regular SS Alcides Escobar and C Salvador Perez.
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