Royals close in on playoffs, beat White Sox 6-3

Chicago White Sox's Marcus Semien (5) celebrates with third base coach Joe McEwing, left, after hitting a triple as Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas , right, reacts during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Whether it’s through a wild card or the AL Central title, Lorenzo Cain doesn’t care how the Kansas City Royals reach the playoffs.

He just wants to get there.

Eric Hosmer homered and drove in two runs, Cain had four hits and scored twice, and the Royals put themselves on the verge of a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

One more win for Kansas City, or a loss by Seattle, will send the Royals to the postseason for the first time since George Brett led them to a World Series championship in 1985.

Kansas City remained two games behind Detroit in the Central and moved one up on Oakland in the wild-card standings.

“We definitely want to win the division, but any way we can get in (the playoffs), we’ll take it,” Cain said.

The Royals aren’t about to be picky considering how long it’s been and all the losing for the franchise along the way. They were September contenders last season for the first time in a decade on the way to 86 wins.

Now they are right on the postseason doorstep, poised to barge in.

“I think this team’s learned a lot,” starter James Shields said. “I think we’ve got a mix of good veterans in here to keep this team loose. We’re really loose and having fun right now and that’s what it’s all about.”

Hosmer had three hits, including an RBI single in the first and a tying solo homer off Jose Quintana in the sixth.

The White Sox held retiring captain Paul Konerko out of the lineup, but he expects to start the final three games. He has been playing through a broken bone in his left hand and was a little sore after playing two of the previous three games in Detroit.

The Royals went ahead after back-to-back singles by Cain and Hosmer put runners on first and third in the eighth.

Jake Petricka relieved Quintana, and it looked as if the White Sox would get out of it when Billy Butler sent a grounder to shortstop.

But second baseman Marcus Semien bounced the relay to first after catching the throw from Alexei Ramirez. That allowed Cain to score the go-ahead run, and Alex Gordon followed with an RBI single to make it 5-3.

That made a winner of Kelvin Herrera (4-3), who worked a scoreless seventh after Shields went six innings.

Wade Davis pitched the eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 45th save in 47 chances.

Shields allowed three runs and five hits, including a two-run homer by Josh Phegley.

Quintana (9-11) gave up five runs and 11 hits over 7 1-3 innings.

“He threw a good game,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “We had a shot there to get out of it for him, and we didn’t. You’ve got to be able to do that.”

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