CHICAGO — Matt Davidson has made the most of his 38 at-bats so far.
He leads the White Sox in home runs with four, and his 14 RBIs ties him for tops on the team. About the only thing he hasn’t done is crack the everyday lineup, which is why Chicago manager Rick Renteria was asked — again — after a 12-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night what the 26-year-old has to do to earn more playing time.
“He doesn’t have to do anything more than what he’s doing right now,” Renteria said. “Fortunately for us, every time he gets in there, he seems to do something pretty impactful for us as a team.”
Davidson had two hits and three RBIs in an eight-run sixth, Chicago’s highest-scoring inning in five years. The White Sox DH set a career high with three hits and tied his single-game best with four RBIs.
Miguel Gonzalez (3-0) lowered his ERA to 2.00, allowing an unearned run and two hits in eight innings.
Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier and Tyler Saladino drove in two runs each for the White Sox, who outhit the Royals 15-2. Chicago put together its highest-scoring inning since a nine-run fifth against Texas on July 3, 2012.
The Royals have lost five straight and scored a major league-low 47 runs.
“We got two hits,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “Not much going on right now. Of course, (the players) are frustrated. Until we get through it … You’re trying to keep them from not getting frustrated to the point where it takes longer to get out of something like this. But, yeah, they’re frustrated with it.”
Jason Vargas (3-1) gave up four runs — three earned — and seven hits in five innings. His ERA rose from a big league-best 0.44 to 1.40.
Davidson, who didn’t start the previous four games, put Chicago ahead in the second with his fourth homer of the season, a solo drive.
Frazier booted Whit Merrifield’s two-out grounder to third for an error in the third and scored on Mike Moustakas’ double just in front of a diving Avisail Garcia in right.
Tim Anderson reached second on a throwing error by Moustakas at third base in the bottom half, stole third and scored the go-ahead run on Jose Abreu’s single. Cabrera’s two-run single boosted the lead to 4-1 in the fifth, and Davidson sparked the big sixth with an RBI double against Peter Moylan, then capped the scoring with a two-run single off Travis Wood.
Davidson, who’s batting .368, would love more playing time but is happy in his part-time role for now in his first extended major league experience.
“It’s a whole lot better being here than in (Triple-A) Charlotte, so I’m enjoying every single day,” he said. “Obviously, I want to play, but being in Chicago and being around these guys is a dream come true.”
Royals: C Salvador Perez (neck stiffness) was 0 for 3 after missing the previous two games.
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon, rehabbing from bursitis in his left biceps, arrived in Chicago to be evaluated. “His visit was just to make sure that everything was moving in the right direction,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It is.”
The Chicago offense provided Gonzalez with his biggest challenge on Monday. The right-hander struggled to stay loose during the lengthy bottom of the sixth and went inside to throw a few pitches as his teammates sent 12 batters to the plate.
“We all know it’s not easy,” he said. “I understand we scored eight runs and that’s huge for our team.”
With the Royals struggling to score, Vargas was asked if he felt pressure to be perfect.
“That’s not how I ever take the mound,” he said. “I can’t control anything other than what I’m able to do, so to factor that in would just be hazardous in my preparation.”
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.32 ERA) is to start the middle game of the three-game series. He is 6-2 in 14 starts and two relief appearances against Chicago.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Covey (0-1, 7.84 ERA) makes his third start and is still looking for his first major league win.