KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The last-place Chicago White Sox are surging, while the Kansas City Royals' playoff hopes are rapidly fading.
Dayan Viciedo hit a grand slam, and Andre Rienzo became the first Brazilian-born pitcher to pick up a win in the majors as the White Sox topped the Royals 5-2 Wednesday night.
The White Sox have won a season-high five straight, all on the road, and 11 of 16. The Royals have lost four straight and are 2-7 in their past nine games, putting a damper on their playoff aspirations. They dropped 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and are 6 1/2 back in the AL wild-card race.
"When we went to Chicago two weeks ago, we were hot and they weren't, and we swept them," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Now they're hot and we're not."
Vicideo's second career grand slam was the exclamation point of a five-run fourth inning.
Rienzo, a 25-year-old rookie right-hander who was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, gave up two runs on five hits in six innings.
"It's all soccer, soccer, soccer," Rienzo (1-0) said about his home country. "I hope that I will open doors and people will see more guys playing baseball."
Relievers Donnie Veal, Matt Lindstrom, Nate Jones and Addison Reed, who logged his 33rd save, limited the Royals to one single over the final three innings to preserve Rienzo's victory.
"Viciedo hit the grand slam," Rienzo said. "The defense played great. I'm glad."
Jeremy Guthrie (12-10) lost his third straight start, giving up nine hits and five runs in six innings.
"I dug myself into a big hole," Guthrie said.
The Royals got one run back on Mike Moustakas' fourth-inning sacrifice fly, and they trimmed the White Sox's lead to 5-2 on David Lough's two-out, sixth-inning single.
"Just a good, gutsy job by (Rienzo)," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Once you get him that lead, he just kind of worked it."
Alexei Ramirez lined his career-high 33rd double to left to start the Chicago fourth, and he scored on Adam Dunn's single. Ramirez has five doubles and 10 runs in the past 17 games.
Paul Konerko and Conor Gillaspie singled to load the bases before Viciedo drove a Guthrie pitch over the left-center-field fence for his 11th home run and second career grand slam. He hit his other slam Oct. 1, 2012, at Cleveland. Viciedo entered the game with one hit in 13 at-bats, a .077 average, against Guthrie.
"He just made a series of pitches that were hittable," Yost said. "Take away that fourth inning and he pitched a great game.
"If you eliminate the fourth inning, but you can't do that, five hits and five runs. It was just one of those innings when he couldn't contain them."
The Royals have scored 18 runs and hit .118 with runners in scoring position in their nine-game slide.
"There's no rhyme or reason," Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We've had a good stretch and a rough stretch, up and down. We're in a tough stretch and we're just not hitting. We're getting guys on and not getting hits.
"I got a hit tonight with nobody on. When I had runners on, twice I didn't get a hit. Every game counts and is magnified when you're in the position we're in."
Viciedo and Gillaspie each had three of the White Sox's 13 hits. Ramirez added two hits.
Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 for the Royals, who managed just six hits.
NOTES: Moustakas, who had played in just one game since straining his left calf on Aug. 12, started and went 0-for-2 with a walk. Manager Ned Yost said he is about 80-85 percent. ... Rienzo and Cleveland Indians C Yan Gomes are the only Brazilian-born players in the major league history. ... Royals 2B Chris Getz batted leadoff for just the ninth time this season. He went 0-for-5, dropping Kansas City to 1-8 when he's atop the batting order. ... The White Sox improved to 51-74. Last year, they were 70-55 after 125 games.