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Sale, White Sox outduel Shields, Royals

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With aces on the mound, runs were scarce, as expected Sunday afternoon.

Chicago left-hander Chris Sale outdueled Kansas City right-hander James Shields as the White Sox topped the Royals, 5-1.

Sale (2-0) allowed four hits, two of them by center fielder Lorenzo Cain, struck out six and walked one in eight scoreless innings, throwing 111 pitches.

"He's pretty good, he's nasty," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "He's got three pitches he can throw to lefty and righty hitters. When he's on, he's locating all of his pitches and throwing them where he wants to be. He's tough to beat."

Shields (0-1) gave up one run on five hits over seven innings, walking none and striking out six.

"They're going pitch-for-pitch at each other," Hosmer said. "You knew one run was going to win it. We're doing everything we can to scratch one across, but we've got do a better job of figuring how we're going to do that next time. Today, wasn't the day."

Sale said he knew he had to step up his game when going against Shields

"Indubitably, yes," Sale said. "It's tough. You know what you're getting with a starter like James. You have to bear down and do it."

Shortstop Alexi Ramirez's infield single in the seventh scored third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who had two doubles, for the only run Shields would allow.

"I made a good pitch on Ramirez and he hit it up the middle," Shields said. "We had shaded toward the six-hole right there. That's a tough battle today."

Sale protected the 1-0 with the other runs scored off the bullpen after both starters exited.

"Chris was jumping ahead," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "There was an energy to him coming off the mound. Big pitchers do that when you face a guy like Shields."

The White Sox blew the game open off Royals relievers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno with a four-run ninth, which included a Ramirez RBI double and catcher Tyler Flowers' two-run single. The other run scored after a throwing error on catcher Salvador Perez.

Outfielder Alex Gordon singled home the only Royals' run in the ninth off White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom.

Sale retired the first 10 batters before Cain's ground ball single. Second baseman Omar Infante had a two-out infield single and both runners moved up on Ramirez's throwing error. Sale got out of that jam by retiring third baseman Danny Valencia on a fly to Ramirez to end the third.

Shields matched Sale with zeroes, giving up three hits in the first five innings. Center fielder Adam Eaton singled in the third, but Perez threw him out trying to steal second.

Gillaspie doubled to lead off the fifth, the only White Sox to get beyond first base the first six innings, but went no further.

Cain had his second hit, an infield chopper over the mound, with two out in the fifth, but shortstop Alcides Escobar grounded out to end the inning.

In Sale's previous five starts against the Royals, the White Sox supported him with only one run in 36 innings.

The Royals won their first replay challenge of the season in the top of the sixth when second baseman Marcus Semien was called safe at first. The replay showed Semien was out and the call was reversed.

NOTES: 3B Mike Moustakas, who is hitless in 15 at-bats this season, was not in the Royals' lineup Sunday. Valencia started at third, making his Royals' debut. ... When the White Sox started 1B Jose Abreu, RF Dayan Viciedo, SS Alexei Ramirez and C Adrian Nieto on Saturday, it was the first time four Cuban-born players were in the same starting lineup since the Cleveland Indians on Opening Day in 1969. The Indians' Cuban starters on April 8, 1969, at the Detroit Tigers were CF Jose Cardenal, C Joe Azcue, SS Zolio Versalles and RHP Luis Tiant. ... The Royals open a series Monday against Tampa Bay with LHP Jason Vargas starting. The Rays counter with LHP Matt Moore. ... The White Sox travel to Colorado, where RHP Felipe Paulino starts Monday. The Rockies' probable is RHP Jordan Lyles.
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