Royals' Guthrie throws first shutout

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost almost pulled Jeremy Guthrie in the eighth inning.
But he decided to leave Guthrie in the game and the right-hander set a club record with his first career shutout as the Royals defeated the Chicago White Sox 2-0 on Saturday night.
Lorenzo Cain drove in both Kansas City runs.
After Chicago's Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza singled in the eighth, Yost made a visit to Guthrie on the mound.
"Ninety-nine times out of a 100 I'm going to take the pitcher out of the ballgame there," Yost said. "It's the eighth inning, he's done his job. I'm not going to put him in a position to lose the ballgame.
"But in the back of my mind, I knew Jeremy had never thrown a complete-game shutout in his big-league career and if he was going to do it tonight was going to be the night. I was going to try to give him every opportunity to do it tonight because his stuff was so good."
Guthrie is 9-0 in his past 17 starts, a franchise record for consecutive starts without a loss. Paul Splittorff held the record with 16 straight starts without a loss in 1977-78.
"It's a neat way to do it," Guthrie said. "I hadn't seen or heard much about it except from fans. A lot of fans were encouraging, saying hope you get it this week. Then to go out there and do something that hasn't been done since one of the Royals' all-time best pitchers and do it in the fashion we were able to do it, tonight is really neat."
Guthrie was not sure he would get a chance to finish, although his pitch count was low and he had allowed just the two hits, both by Paul Konerko, before the eighth.
"I knew they had guys warming up," Guthrie said. "I could hear the popping of the glove down there. I thought it was either way.
"I think it was more for (Yost). He wanted to come out there and pump me up and give me a vote of confidence and that's pretty much what he came out for. He said, 'can you get this guy?' I said yes. He said, 'Let's go for it.'"
Guthrie retired Jeff Keppinger on a ground ball and worked a spotless eight-pitch ninth to finish his masterpiece shutout with 106 pitches.
"It's something I've never been able to accomplish," Guthrie said. "I had a few opportunities. It was special to go out in the ninth inning and hear the little roar from the crowd was really cool and backed me up.
"We played great defense early, which made it all possible. The infield just made tremendous plays. It probably saved three or four hits, which accumulates to who knows how many pitches and how many potential runs."
Dylan Axelrod (0-2) took the loss, allowing two runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and hit two batters.
Cain's two-out triple in the first scored Billy Butler, who was hit by an Axelrod pitch, and Eric Hosmer, who had singled.
The Royals threatened in the third. Hosmer led off with a triple, but his teammates failed to bring him home.
"I thought it was a decent pitch to Cain," Axelrod said. "I was happy with battling through it. Everything really was working. I was moving it in and out and changing speeds."
He also avoided the big inning, pitching out of jams early
"You tell yourself in those situations that you might give up one, but that's the extent of it," Axelrod said. "You don't want to let it manifest into a big inning. Like with Hosmer's triple, I made some quality pitches and he doesn't score. I don't put too much pressure on myself and say I can't give up any runs."
Konerko's two-out double in the fourth moved Adam Dunn, who had walked, to third base. Conor Gillaspie struck out to strand the runners.
Axelrod got his first 12 outs via fly balls before Butler grounded out to third to start the fifth. Right fielder Alex Rios logged seven putouts in the first six innings.
"It's one of those games where Axe was good but Guthrie was better," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's been tough on us."
NOTES: Wade Davis, who starts Sunday for the Royals, has lost his past two starts and gave up a career-high eight runs to Cleveland in his previous outing. ... White Sox center fielder Dewayne Wise, who was scratched Thursday with a stiff neck, was in the lineup. ... The Royals, who had back-to-back rainouts Thursday and Friday, have had 10 days off in the first 33 dates.

What to Read Next