CHICAGO (AP) — A rough first inning was enough to sink Jose Quintana and the Chicago White Sox.
The Kansas City Royals staked starter Jeremy Guthrie to a five-run lead before he took the mound and the Royals beat the White Sox 7-2 on Friday night.
The first four batters — Nori Aoki, Omar Infante, Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler — all singled to make it 2-0 and fifth-place hitter Alex Gordon followed with a double to right field to make it 3-0.
After Quintana (3-7) struck out Salvador Perez for the first out of the game, Lorenzo Cain stroked a double to left to drive in two more and made it 5-0.
“(Quintana) just stubbed his foot in that first inning,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “From there, we had some opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize on them. We worked some counts, got (Guthrie) in some tough situations, he just worked out of it.”
Quintana recovered enough to last six innings, allowing six runs and eight hits, but the Chicago offense couldn’t capitalize when given chances to score.
The White Sox got a run back in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Jose Abreu. The Royals got it back in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Hosmer.
Chicago loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning as Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo singled and Alejandro De Aza walked, but the White Sox pushed across just one run — on a walk to Adam Eaton — to make it 6-2.
Guthrie struck out Tyler Flowers with no outs and then struck out Gordon Beckham with one out following the walk to Eaton. Conor Gillaspie then flied out to center to end the inning.
“He was erratic,” Ventura said of Guthrie. “I mean, you don’t see him walk that many people, especially with a lead like that. He gave us an opportunity to get back in it and then he seemed to find his groove.”
Guthrie (3-6) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings to snap an 11-game winless streak. Guthrie’s last win was on April 9, against Tampa Bay.
Royals manager Ned Yost was pleased his team could back up their starting pitcher when he didn’t have his best stuff, something they hadn’t done much of this season.
“Just get him some runs is what we wanted to do and this is probably the worst start that he had during this whole streak,” Yost said. “He’s been really efficient, really commanding his pitches. The first three innings he made big pitches when he needed to limit the damage, which was huge.”
Guthrie helped lead the Royals to their fifth straight win overall and eighth in their last nine games at U.S. Cellular Field, a stretch in which they’ve outscored the White Sox 38-16.
Despite the loss, the White Sox remain optimistic about where they sit in a bunched up AL Central, where no team is more than 3 1-2 games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers.
“It’s good baseball,” Eaton said. “It shows the depth of the division and we are excited to be in the mix and we continue to work hard and hopefully we can say that in September.”
NOTES: The White Sox have signed RHP Henry Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, released by Miami earlier this season, has been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte and will begin on the DL. ... The last time LHP Chris Sale had a high pitch count he landed on the DL for a month, but Ventura had no problems with the Chicago ace throwing 116 on Thursday. “He felt great going there and he didn’t have that inning where he really had to fight through it and battle,” Ventura said. ... LHP Danny Duffy (3-5) takes on RHP Hector Noesi (2-4) in the second game of the series Saturday.