CHICAGO (AP) — The Kansas City Royals refuse to make it easy for the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Lorenzo Cain hit two home runs, including a tie-breaking, two-run shot in the ninth inning, as the Royals beat Chicago 7-5 on Friday night.
Salvador Perez also hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who won their sixth straight against the White Sox.
“I guess we’re going to try to shake things up a little bit. We’re a team that’s going to fight to the end. We’re going to finish the season strong regardless of what the standings look now. Tigers, Chicago, either or, we’re going to go out and try to beat them every night,” Cain said.
Chicago hit three home runs: Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run shot and Dewayne Wise and A.J. Pierzynski hit solo shots.
Kelvin Herrera (2-2) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning for the Royals, who have won three straight against the Tigers.
“We’ve had a pretty good run against everybody, lately. The people that don’t follow us don’t really know that we’ve been playing pretty good baseball for about six weeks now. It’s not just against the White Sox,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Johnny Giavotella led off the ninth with a single off Addison Reed (3-2). Cain followed with a deep home run to left center, giving the Royals a 7-5 lead. His seventh home run of the season gave him his first career two-homer game.
Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.
The White Sox left the bases loaded in the first and eighth innings. Herrera got Jose Lopez to pop out in the eighth.
“We can get them on, but we are having problems getting them in. You know, you get frustrated. It’s one of those where we had plenty of opportunities and it’s one of those games where you had plenty of opportunities and don’t knock them in. Then you give them opportunities by giving them free base runners,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
With Adam Dunn and Kevin Youkilis missing from the top of the order, the White Sox jumped on starter Luis Mendoza early. Alejandro De Aza led off the first with a single and moved to second on Lopez’s groundout. After Wise walked, Paul Konerko drove in De Aza with a single.
Billy Butler led off the second with a bloop single and Perez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run home run to left. It was his ninth of the season.
Trailing 2-1, Wise led off the third with a triple, but failed to score. Konerko flied out to shallow right field then Rios followed with another pop fly to shallow right. Giavotella, playing second base, made the catch on Rios’ ball with his back to the plate and Wise tried to tagged from third, but Giavotella made a good throw to the plate to easily get Wise.
Pierzynski tagged Mendoza with a leadoff home run in the fourth to tie the game at 2. It was his 25th of the season.
With two outs in the fifth, Cain teed off on a slider from starter Francisco Liriano to give the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Cain looked overmatched against Liriano in his first two at-bats.
“He (Liriano) was eating me alive with the changeup. I couldn’t touch it, I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t do anything with it, but he ended up hanging a slider right down the middle of the plate, put a good swing on it and I was able to get it out,” Cain said.
Wise came back with a solo shot in the fifth to tie the game 3-3. It was his seventh of the season.
Ventura pulled Liriano after he issued consecutive walks in the sixth. Jeff Francoeur greeted reliever Nate Jones with an RBI double down the right-field line to put the Royals ahead. Eric Homer gave Kansas City a 5-3 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Liriano has walked 15 batters in his last 14 innings. It was his third straight start that he couldn’t record an out after the fifth inning.
After a leadoff single by Dayan Viciedo in the sixth, Ramirez tied the game 5-5 with his ninth homer of the season.
Liriano was tagged for five runs and six hits with four walks in five innings.
Mendoza didn’t fare much better. He was pulled after allowing five runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The White Sox are 12-20 in games decided by two runs.
“Sometimes it’s tough, but you got to, and I know it as much as anybody, it’s tough to sometimes not see the negative, but you got to keep pushing, because if you think about it, tomorrow’s game’s going to be gone, too,” Konerko said. “You just have to try to tell yourself something good, as a team or as a player, and just get on with it tomorrow.”
Notes: Dunn (strained right oblique) was out after missing two games due to the same injury. Ventura said he hopes Dunn can return Saturday or Sunday. .. Youkilis left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting to give birth to their first child. Ventura said he hopes Youkilis returns this weekend. … RHP Gavin Floyd (right elbow flexor strain) threw sliders, changeups and fastballs in a 55-pitch bullpen session Thursday. He plans on throwing curveballs in another session on Sunday and hopes to rejoin the White Sox rotation soon after. … Gordon set a career-high with his 46th double in the third inning.