For better or for worse, Jeremy Guthrie has had a tendency to pitch to the score this season. Tonight, he held the Chicago White Sox in check, allowing the Royals to rally for a 3-1 victory.
Guthrie was excellent tonight, and he needed to be. The Royals had trouble for most of the evening against White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who breezed through the Royals lineup through the first two innings. Guthrie ran into trouble in the second, when his defense failed him. After walking Adam Dunn to begin the inning, Guthrie got a tailor made double play ball back at him. The force out was made at second, but Pedro Ciriaco‘s throw was closer to Overland Park than to Eric Hosmer, allowing Alexi Ramirez to reach safely. A stolen base and a base hit by Paul Konerko gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Royals offense showed signs of life in the bottom of the third. Ciriaco hit a slow roller to short with one out, resulting in an infield single. After a groundout moved him up to second, Ciriaco came around to score on a base hit to shallow left off the bat of Nori Aoki, tying the game at 1-1.
Kansas City had another chance in the very next inning. Singles by Billy Butler, Danny Valencia and Lorenzo Cain loaded the bases with one out, bringing Pedro Ciriaco back to the plate. However, as Ciriaco giveth, he also taketh away, as he hit a one hopper to the mound for an easy 1-2-3 double play, ending the rally.
Jeremy Guthrie had settled in at this point, neutralizing the White Sox offense. In his seven innings, Guthrie allowed only the one run on three hits and two walks, striking out two in a game that he deserved far better than a no decision.
The Royals offense found itself once again in the bottom of the eighth. Quintana was still on the mound, and recorded a quick out before getting the count to 1-2 on Aoki. Aoki then dropped down a bunt, legging it out for an infield single. Alcides Escobar followed with a double, putting runners on second and third. An intentional walk to Eric Hosmer brought Butler to the plate, and marked the end of Quintana’s outing. Jake Petricka, who had been excellent this season, came on to quell the rally and to get a badly needed double play. Butler, however, lined hard to right, scoring Aoki to give the Royals their first lead. Consecutive walks to Alex Gordon and Valencia added an insurance run, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead.
Greg Holland was a bit shaky in the ninth, but managed to pitch through his issues to close out the 3-1 victory. Wade Davis earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief, striking out two batters and raising his k/9 to an amazing 16.82 this year.
Aoki and Escobar each had two hits in the victory.