Ventura records season-best 10 strikeouts as Royals win 3-1
CHICAGO -- The Baltimore brawl is over. Yordano Ventura is concentrating on finding his form for the Kansas City Royals.
This was an awfully nice step in that direction.
Ventura pitched seven sharp innings in his first start since his fight with Manny Machado, and the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Sunday for their second straight win following an eight-game losing streak.
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"Today (I) was feeling what (I've) been working on all along," Ventura said, with catching coach Pedro Grifol serving as translator, "which is get the ball out of the glove quickly and get out in front."
Ventura (5-4) struck out a season-high 10 and walked one in his first win since May 17 against Boston, making the most of Kansas City's run-scoring singles in the first and second. Salvador Perez added a leadoff homer down the left-field line in the ninth.
The 25-year-old Ventura went 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in his previous four starts.
"When we took him out of the game, I told him tomorrow his duty was to come in and watch every pitch of that ballgame because every pitch that he delivered, for me, was phenomenal," manager Ned Yost said.
Ventura was suspended nine games by Major League Baseball after he hit Machado in the back with a 99 mph fastball in the fifth inning of a 9-1 loss Tuesday, leading to a bench-clearing fight. But the right-hander appealed the punishment and is allowed to pitch until the process is complete.
"For me, I mean, he was totally judged guilty without even a trial, without hearing any of the evidence," Yost said. "To me, that wasn't right, but it is what it is."
Chicago put runners on first and third with no outs in the fifth, but J.B. Shuck struck out looking and Ventura got rookie Tim Anderson to bounce into a double play -- one of three on the day for Chicago. After Jose Abreu homered in the sixth, Ventura struck out Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier to end the inning.
Kelvin Herrera worked the eighth and Wade Davis finished for his 17th save in 18 chances, helping Yost improve to 500-499 in seven years with Kansas City.
The White Sox lost for the 14th time in their last 18 games. Five of those defeats have come against the Royals.
"There's no worry," left-hander Carlos Rodon said. "We know we're good enough. We're just going through a rough patch."
Rodon (2-6) shook off a slow start and pitched six effective innings after he was pushed back a couple of days due to a sore neck. He allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked two.
"He threw well," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He got into some binds there and I think he limited his chances. There could have been some big innings there and he bucked up and got out of it."
Kendrys Morales' two-out RBI single got Kansas City on the board in the first, and Whit Merrifield added another run-scoring single in the second.
White Sox right-hander James Shields chatted with Yost when he visited the Royals before the game.
Shields won 27 games over two seasons in Kansas City, helping the Royals reach the 2014 World Series. He signed with San Diego in February 2015 and was traded to the White Sox on June 4.
"He left a big impact here. It's good to see him," Yost said. "I'm glad he's back in the American League."
Shields lasted just two-plus innings in an 11-4 loss to Washington in his White Sox debut on Wednesday. He pitches again on Monday against Detroit.
Royals: Perez was checked on by Yost and a trainer after the catcher fell awkwardly while chasing a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Perez stayed in after catching a warmup pitch from Ventura.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.25 ERA) gets the ball when Kansas City begins a seven-game homestand Monday night against Cleveland. RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 3.48) pitches for the Indians in the opener of a three-game series.
White Sox: Shields (2-8, 5.06 ERA) is 7-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 18 career starts against Detroit. LHP Matt Boyd (0-1, 3.38) goes for the Tigers.