Key sixth inning helps Royals beat Quintana-led White Sox 4-1
CHICAGO — When asked before the game if facing the World Series champions would be a good measuring stick, Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier pointed to the standings.
"We’re leading the division, so they have to come through us," Frazier said.
The Kansas City Royals responded with a vintage 2015 performance.
Omar Infante, Paulo Orlando and Lorenzo Cain all doubled in a three-run sixth inning off Jose Quintana to lead the Royals to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Orlando added an RBI single an inning later, Dillon Gee (1-1) allowed a run over five innings for his first victory since 2014 and shortstop Alcides Escobar’s fine double play saved at least one run.
The Royals won for the fifth time in seven games and moved within 3 1/2 games of the AL Central-leading White Sox.
"We needed a game like this," Orlando said.
Quintana (5-3) who entered with an AL-best 1.54 ERA, gave up one hit while facing the minimum 15 batters through five. He retired 11 straight until Infante had the first of four straight one-out hits.
Kendrys Morales’ two-out RBI single made it 3-1, with all the run-scoring hits off curveballs.
"When we got runners in scoring position, he tried the breaking ball," Orlando said.
Four relievers combined to blank the White Sox over the final four innings, with Wade Davis working out of ninth-inning trouble for his 10th save in 11 tries.
Quintana was charged with a season-worst four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Austin Jackson’s second-inning sacrifice fly provided the lone run for the White Sox, who have lost seven of nine.
"We had some opportunities and we didn’t do that same thing that they did, being able to put it in play and knock guys in," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We had enough guys on base, we just didn’t execute enough."
It looked like Chicago’s dominance with its top pitchers Chris Sale and Quintana would continue early.
Salvador Perez was quickly erased on a double play following his second-inning single, and the Royals didn’t have another baserunner until the sixth.
Consecutive one-out doubles by Infante and Orlando tied it at 1. After Alcides Escobar’s infield hit, Cain smacked an RBI double into the left field corner.
That was enough for the Royals, who have won 22 of 29 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Ventura shook up his struggling lineup, moving Jose Abreu to the second spot for the first time since last season. Frazier batted third and Melky Cabrera fourth.
Cabrera led off with a single to left and scored on Jackson’s bases-loaded fly. But Chicago was frustrated while striking out looking seven times.
Adam Eaton was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after taking a called third strike to end the game.
"It’s tough when you strike out and you only saw one strike and didn’t even take the bat off your shoulder," Eaton said. "It’s pretty tough to hit like that. I think most guys didn’t like the inconsistency all night."
Luke Hochevar, Joacim Soria and Kelvin Herrera threw a scoreless inning apiece. Escobar caught Frazier’s liner to start a double play that ended the seventh.
Gee, who took the injured Chris Young’s spot in the rotation, allowed four hits and struck out five.
"Great outing," manager Ned Yost said. "Going in against Quintana, it’s going to be a low-scoring game. You’ve got to hold the fort there and he did."
— FOX Sports KC (@FSKansasCity) May 21, 2016
Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas (thumb) rejoined the team after a minor league rehab stint and is expected to be activated off the disabled list before Saturday’s game.
Orlando is 18 for 51 against the White Sox, whom he played for in minors. It’s eight more hits than he has against any other team.
Gee slipped in his windup, stumbled and the ball popped out of his hand and rolled toward first base with Cabrera at the plate in the fifth. Cabrera put his hand up and jumped out of the batter’s box, while Wendelstedt ruled it a no pitch. Cabrera eventually struck out swinging.
LHP Danny Duffy (0-0, 2.57 ERA) makes his second start for the Royals since returning to the rotation in the series’ middle game Saturday. White Sox RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-0, 5.17) has 11 strikeouts and 10 walks in 15 2/3 innings.