White Sox hold off Royals 7-6 as Ronald Belisario closes
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter May 20, 2014 10:56PM
Updated: May 21, 2014 12:31AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer to break open a tight game, Tyler Flowers also homered and Andre Rienzo pitched six strong innings as the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-6 on Tuesday night.
Dunn’s seventh homer, a 426-foot shot to center against reliever Aaron Crow in the eighth inning, gave the Sox a 7-2 lead. The Royals scored three in the eighth against relievers Scott Downs and Frank Francisco to get within two runs. They added another in the ninth against Ronald Belisario, who got his first save.
The Sox (23-24) won for the second time in two nights against the American League Central rival Royals (22-23) and will try for a series sweep when they close out a nine-game trip Wednesday night. A victory would give the Sox a 5-4 record on the trip through Oakland, Houston and Kansas City.
Before the game, the Sox put closer Matt Lindstrom on the 15-day disabled list with a sublexing outside tendon in his left ankle. Manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper did not say who the new closer would be, but they turned to Belisario, who went into the game with seven consecutive scoreless relief appearances. Belisario retired the first two Royals in the ninth before Billy Butler doubled and Alex Gordon dove him in with a single. Pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second before Lorenzo Cain struck out to end the game.
“Oh, yeah,” Belisario said when asked if he’s ready to take over for Lindstrom. “Setup guys are almost the same job. I just go in, do my job and make the outs. No [different]. It’s the same.”
Rienzo (4-0, 4.00 ERA) gave up two runs, five hits and two walks in six innings while striking out a career-high eight as the Sox improved to 6-0 in his starts.
“The command [problems] we were looking at last year and this year early in spring training, I think he’s there,” Ventura said of Rienzo. “He’s getting ahead early. He just gives you a chance. He’s making guys put it in play, not putting himself in binds, so he’s making guys earn it.”
Flowers hit his third home run, a 412-foot shot inside the left-field foul pole, for the first of three Sox runs in the fifth. A double by Adam Eaton, a wild pitch by Royals starter Yordano Ventura (2-4), an RBI single by Gordon Beckham (3-for-5) and two more wild pitches by Ventura helped the Sox get two more runs for a 4-2 lead.
In the first, Conor Gillaspie (3-for-4) tripled to right with two outs, and Dayan Viciedo singled. The Royals scored two against Rienzo in the second on Danny Valencia’s two-run double.
Zach Putnam entered in the eighth to clean up after Francisco, retiring pinch hitter Mike Moustakas and Nori Aoki with runners at first and third. The Royals scored two in the eighth against Downs and one against Franciso, who faced three batters but did not record an out.
Dunn’s homer, his seventh, looked bigger after the Royals chipped away.
“Obviously, [injured home-run leader Jose Abreu’s] really good, but we’ve got a guy. I think Paul [Konerko] and me are going to play a little more,” Dunn said. “Paul’s not swinging the bat like he wants [.183] or is capable, but he’s pretty good, too. I’m pretty confident that Paul and I will be able to replace some of the production.”