KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dylan Cease struck out nine batters over 5 2⁄3 scoreless innings, Jose Abreu drove in two runs with a double and AJ Pollock contributed a sacrifice fly as the White Sox defeated the Royals 3-0 in Game 1 of a split doubleheader Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
The result gave the Sox two wins in the first two games of a five-game series against the struggling Royals, who fell to 12-22. The Sox hiked their record to 18-17.
Right-hander Davis Martin will make his major league debut in Game 2, opposing Royals righty Brady Singer (6:10 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago).
Cease (4-1) lowered his ERA to 3.09 in his first start since giving up six runs in four innings while also striking out 11 Yankees on Thursday. He stranded two runners at third base and benefited from Hunter Dozier trying to score from first on a single in the fourth inning. Dozier advanced to third on Kyle Isbel’s single to left fielder AJ Pollock with two out in the fourth and was waved home as Pollock’s throw was getting to second baseman Josh Harrison, whose throw to catcher Reese McGuire ended the inning.
The Royals were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and they struck out 14 times. They loaded the bases in the seventh against Joe Kelly but Kelly struck out pinch hitter Carlos Santana (Sal Perez was lifted with a sprained left thumb) and Ryan O’Hearn and Dozier on a soft pop-up to Harrrison.
Abreu, who entered with a .200 average, had two walks and a single in the Sox’ 5-3 win over the Royals Monday and two hits including a double, a lineout to right field and a walk Tuesday.
With his pitch count at 94 and a runner at second base with two outs in the sixth, Cease was relieved by Bennett Sousa after he struck out MJ Melendez. Cease’s body language suggested he didn’t want to exit when manager Tony La Russa came out of the dugout to make the change. Bennett Sousa struck out pinch hitter Michael Taylor to end the inning.
Jose Ruiz pitched a perfect eighth and Liam Hendriks worked the ninth for his 11th save.