Asche responds to benching with key contribution

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Cody Asche, right, is caught in a rundown between third and home plate by Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) during the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After pulling Cody Asche for not running to first on a third strike in the dirt Wednesday, manager Rick Renteria put the struggling designated hitter back in the lineup Thursday.

“We just have certain things we want to follow through with, and he understood,’’ Renteria said. “And I’ll leave it at that.’’

Asche is batting .102, but his two-run double against Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy in the fourth inning gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead.

“There’s standards that need to be set if you’re going to be a White Sox player,’’ Asche said. “If you don’t meet the standards, sometimes the manager has to take action.’’

Asche, who had a .240 career average with the Phillies, was signed to a minor-league contract in the offseason. Despite his struggles, he has his manager’s backing.

“Nobody is going to discount that the numbers aren’t there, but he still gives us a left-handed stick against a right-handed arm,’’ Renteria said. “And he has a history of success. He’s actually a good hitter.’’

“It feels good just to add to the team and be a contributing part of the lineup,’’ Asche said of his double.

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