White Sox win fifth in row

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The mood in the White Sox clubhouse before they played the Royals on Tuesday night was relaxed and businesslike, which has been the norm throughout the season.

Their benchmark win against the Tigers on Monday left them breathing a little easier with a three-game lead in the American League Central. But not too easy.

“You can take positives from it but you cannot take the Royals for granted,” said manager Robin Ventura, whose team had lost five of the first 15 games to Kansas City before defeating the Royals 3-2 on Tuesday for their fifth straight victory. “They’ve played us well. We realize the position we’re in but if you let down, what you did in the last four days gets washed away.”

The Kauffman Stadium scoreboard told the Sox that Detroit, despite losing co-ace pitcher Max Scherzer, was pounding on the A’s so the Sox knew they needed to win to maintain their cushion.

The Sox were ready from the get-go, getting a leadoff home run from Alejandro De Aza, and two more solo shots from Gordon Beckham in the fifth inning and Alex Rios in the seventh. It was Beckham’s career-high 16th of the season and it was the 24th for Rios, who hit a 3-0 pitch to deep left.

Gavin Floyd (10-10) pitched seven strong innings, allowing five hits, including an opposite-field two-run single to Billy Butler in the first. After that, Floyd faced one batter over the minimum while retiring the last 10 Royals he faced.

Left-hander Matt Thornton pitched a perfect eighth, and Ventura, following his pattern Monday when he let Brett Myers start the ninth after working a full inning for a favorable matchup, let Thornton face lefty Alex Gordon to open the ninth.

Thornton went to 3-0 count on Gordon before coming back to strike him out, and Addison Reed (28th save) came in to face Butler and Salvador Perez. Reed fell behind 2-0 on Butler but retired him on a grounder to Beckham at second and got Perez on a fly to Dewayne Wise in center.

De Aza had two hits in his return to the lineup after sitting out two games following an 0-for-5 with four strikeouts night in Minnesota. The homer was his third leadoff blast.

The right-handed hitting Dayan Viciedo, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Hochevar, went to the bench.

A day after collecting three hits in the big win against the Tigers, Dewayne Wise moved down to the eighth spot in the lineup and played center field. He went 0-for-4.

Ventura indicated he will rotate De Aza, Wise and Viciedo into left and center, Viciedo limited to left.

“They’re all kind of doing their part and there’s only three spots out there,” Ventura said. “You keep them fresh and try to give them a chance. You look at matchups and you get them out there because they’ve all done something to get us here.”

Wise was a more than capable fill-in when De Aza went down with sore ribs.

“Dewayne has done that. … we have gotten a spark from him,” Ventura said. “He’s played his into getting some playing time.

It was easier for Ventura to excuse Wise for his baserunning gaffe in Monday’s game against the Tigers because the Sox won. Wise was out at third tagging up on what would have been a sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn.

“He knew right away,” Ventura said Tuesday. “If he could have called timeout when he was halfway there he would have. It’s a lot easier sitting in the dugout. On the field you sometimes try to do more than you should. That was one of those times where he tried to do more than was necessary to try and make an impact.”

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