KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — On paper, it didn’t look like a good matchup for Jeremy Guthrie.
The Kansas City Royals starter had yielded an American League high 12 home runs and the Chicago White Sox rank second in the AL with 52 long balls.
The right-hander didn’t get the win, but he beat the odds.
Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined on a four-hitter and the Kansas City Royals rallied in the eighth inning to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 Wednesday night and avoid being swept in their three-game series.
“I try to win and try not to give up home runs,” Guthrie said. “You tell me how I’m doing. I’ve got 12 home runs and two wins. So I guess I’m not doing so hot on either.”
The White Sox had scored 14 runs and hit five home runs in the first two games.
“Today was more defense and pitching,” Guthrie said. “They hit for power, which is obviously dangerous anytime when you have a chance to leave the yard. It makes it tough to pitch to them.”
Guthrie, who is winless in seven starts since an April 9 victory over Tampa Bay, left after seven innings with the score 1-1. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out two.
“He just moves the ball in and out,” White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie said. “Guthrie throws a lot of pitches out of the zone and it seemed like he does it on purpose, but not really today. We just kept swinging at it.”
Guthrie credited his fastball for his success against the White Sox.
“I thought the fastball was used effectively to both sides of the plate to all the hitters. …” he said. “My mindset was to throw strikes and get deep into the game.”
Wade Davis (3-1) struck out two in a flawless eighth and has tossed 10 scoreless innings in his last nine appearances. Greg Holland logged his 13th save in 14 chances, but not before giving up a single to Dayan Viciedo and walking Adam Dunn in the ninth.
“It makes everybody’s job easier when you have Wade and Holland and the way they’re thrown the ball all season long,” Guthrie said.
The Royals snapped a 1-1 tie in the eighth when Nori Aoki scored on Billy Butler’s sacrifice fly. Aoki started the one-out rally with a bunt single on a two-strike count. He advanced to third on Alcides Escobar’s single. Eric Hosmer was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Aoki scored on Butler’s fly to right.
“That’s actually the first time in my entire baseball career I’ve bunted with two strikes,” Aoki said. “I was actually pretty nervous. Pedro (Grifol, hitting coach) convinced me to do it. I guess I have a pretty high chance of getting a bunt down, so it doesn’t really matter what the count is. I’m glad I was able to do that today.”
Danny Valencia then walked on five pitches, scoring Escobar with the second run of the inning.
Paul Konerko, who leads all active visiting players with 149 RBIs at Kauffman Stadium, singled to left in the second to score Alexei Ramirez for the Chicago’s run.
The Royals tied it in the third when Aoki’s groundball single to left scored Pedro Ciriaco.
The Royals wasted a chance to take the lead in the fourth when they loaded the bases with one out on singles by Butler, Valencia and Lorenzo Cain. Ciriaco, however, rolled the first pitch back to the mound and left-hander Jose Quintana started an inning ending double play.
Quintana (2-4) took the loss, charged with three runs on eight hits over 7 1-3 innings.
“I feel a little bit sad for no win,” Quintana said. “It was a really hard game. We won the series and we’ll get ready for the next game. I think next time it’ll be better for me. I don’t get frustrated. I only have control to pitch a good game.”
NOTES: RHP Matt Lindstrom, who tops the White Sox with six saves, will have left ankle surgery to repair a torn sheath Friday and is expected to be out three months. RHP Ronald Belisario will close out White Sox games in Lindstrom’s absence. . White Sox LHP Chris Sale will come off the disabled list Thursday and start against the Yankees, his first outing since April 17. . The Royals’ 20 home runs rank last in the majors.