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Delmonico, Abreu homer as seven-run 7th inning lifts White Sox past Royals

Nicky Delmonico celebrates his three-run home run Friday night against the Royals.

Right-hander James Shields had a feeling his hitters might reward him if he kept the White Sox within reach into the late innings Friday.

His instincts proved correct.

Down by a run, the Sox erupted for seven runs in the seventh and pulled away for a 9-3 win over the Royals. It was the highest-scoring inning by the Sox this season.

Nicky Delmonico homered and drove in a career-high five runs. Tim Anderson finished a homer shy of the cycle and picked up a pair of stolen bases, and the Sox won for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

Shields (5-14) picked up his 16th quality start by limiting the Royals to three runs in seven innings. He pitched at least six innings for the 19th time in his last 22 starts and earned his first win since July 13.

“The boys have been playing pretty good baseball the last few games,” Shields said. “I hung in there long enough for them to get to that starter and get to the bullpen a little bit. Clutch hitting by them.”

Jose Abreu started the big inning with a three-run blast. He turned on a first-pitch fastball and belted it an estimated 418 feet into the left-field bleachers for his 22nd homer.

Anderson added an RBI single four batters later to make it 6-3.

Delmonico followed with a three-run homer, his fourth, to blow open the game.

“I was just looking for a pitch to jump on early, and he grooved me a fastball,” Delmonico said.

Garcia in, Garcia out

Manager Rick Renteria pulled Avisail Garcia in the top of the third inning for not hustling and replaced him with Leury Garcia in right field.

Avisail Garcia flied out to right field in the first inning and did not run hard down the first-base line.

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“I didn’t think he had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said. “I thought if the ball falls in, you’ve got to be able to possibly advance. To his credit, you guys know he does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit. …

“He said he felt it click when he came out of the box. I said he can still give me a better effort out of the box.”

Garcia said Renteria’s criticism was fair.

“Even if my knee is bothering me, I can give a better effort,” he said. “I want to play, so I want to do whatever I can.”

Getting closer

Welington Castillo started a rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte a week before he is eligible to return to the Sox from an 80-game suspension for violating terms of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

Castillo has not played since May 24. He is eligible to return Thursday.

Renteria said he expected Castillo to regain a prominent role behind the plate when he returns.

“Hopefully he’s healthy and continues to be the same as it’s been,” Renteria said.