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White Sox 4, Royals 3

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CHICAGO (AP)

A.J. Pierzynski and the Chicago White Sox know exactly what they need to do to have a shot at making the postseason.

Forget about watching the scoreboard, and just focus on winning their games.

The White Sox got an important victory Friday night when Pierzynski hit a go-ahead, two-run double with two out in the eighth inning in a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Chicago stopped a three-game slide and pulled within five games of AL Central-leading Minnesota, which lost 2-0 at Cleveland.

''Everyone knows what's going on. There's no secrets,'' Pierzynski said. ''Every single person in this clubhouse, every single person in this stadium, every single person in Major league Baseball knows what the situation is. We have to try to win every game. To come from behind in the eighth inning is a huge lift. It was a good team win and as big as everyone thought.''

J.J. Putz (7-5) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get the win and rookie Chris Sale worked the ninth for his second save.

''Hopefully, it's here we go,'' Pierzynski said. ''We know the situation. We have 21 games left and we need to try to win 21 games. It's going to be a battle and we just need to chip away and hopefully we can get it down in the last couple of weeks to two or three games and see what happens.''

Willie Bloomquist hit a pair of RBI doubles and Bruce Chen pitched seven solid innings to help the Royals build a 3-1 lead. Chen allowed four hits, including Brent Morel's first career homer, and walked one.

The White Sox rallied against Robinson Tejeda (3-4), taking advantage when Alexei Ramirez reached on a one-out error by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Alex Rios followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit to one.

Tejeda got Paul Konerko to pop up for the second out, but Manny Ramirez walked in his first home game with the White Sox to put runners on first and second. Pierzynski then doubled to right-center to score Rios and pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge.

''That's why they've got a good team over there, because in tough situations, they clutch up,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''Pierzynski is one of those guys who always seems to clutch up in tough situations and he did it again tonight.''

Manny Ramirez went 0 for 3 in his first game in Chicago since he was acquired from the Dodgers and was upstaged by manager Ozzie Guillen's ejection and argument with plate umpire Angel Hernandez after Mark Buehrle was called for his second balk in the game.

The White Sox improved to 39-27 at U.S. Cellular Field in their first game back after a 7-3 trip.

The Royals were done in by three errors.

''Our defense is killing us,'' Yost said. ''Our defense is putting a lot of extra strain on pitching and that cost us a ballgame tonight. (Tejeda) takes ownership in it, too, but he's out of that inning.''

Bloomquist hit a tying double off Mark Buehrle in the fourth and another RBI double in Kansas City's two-run sixth. Betancourt also had a two-out RBI single that made it 3-1.

Bloomquist's first run-scoring hit was set up by the first balk call on Buehrle, who looked as if he had Brayan Pena picked off before plate umpire Angel Hernandez moved the runner to second. Jai Miller struck out but Bloomquist followed with his clutch swing.

Buehrle was called for a balk again in the fifth, and Guillen ran out of the dugout toward Hernandez. The manager picked up his sixth ejection of the season shortly after he started the argument and yelled at crew chief Joe West as he left the field.

After the game, the umpiring crew declined comment and Guillen didn't want to discuss the incident.

''I wish I could say what I feel,'' Guillen said. ''I wish I was in Venezuela, I could say whatever I want. But I've got to protect my players. I never thought it was a balk, but when they called the balk you have to respect that. But this is my job, to go there and protect them. I will do anything to protect my players, that's what I do best.

''But in the meanwhile, I don't know why. This is the only crew ... Buehrle's been pitching for me for seven years and this is the only crew that always does that to him. I don't know what's going on.''

Buehrle leads the majors with 121 pickoffs, but his move to first has been ruled a balk by West's crew on a couple occasions this season.

Guillen and Buehrle were tossed by West in a May 26th win at Cleveland. Guillen was kicked out after arguing the first balk call with West, then Buehrle was tossed after slamming his mitt after being called for another balk in the third.

''Obviously you don't want to get kicked out,'' Buehrle said. ''I think Jim Joyce said it best. As an umpire you don't want to be in the media and controversy but there are some people that, I guess, enjoy being in the middle of stuff. I've done this move for ten years now. I've got four balks this year. It's the same crew.''

Buehrle pitched seven innings Friday night, allowing three runs and seven hits.

NOTES: White Sox Closer Bobby Jenks was unavailable with a pinch nerve. He is day to day.

Tagged: White Sox, Royals, Manny Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, A.J. Pierzynski, Willie Bloomquist, Alex Rios, Robinson Tejeda, Alexei Ramirez

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