CHICAGO -- The five runs scored by the White Sox offense during Wednesday's 5-2 victory over the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field must have seemed like a season's worth of support for Jose Quintana, the South Siders' winning pitcher.Entering the afternoon contest, the White Sox (11-9) had scored two runs
CHICAGO -- The five runs scored by the White Sox offense during Wednesday's 5-2 victory over the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field must have seemed like a season's worth of support for Jose Quintana, the South Siders' winning pitcher.
Entering the afternoon contest, the White Sox (11-9) had scored two runs in total over Quintana's four previous starts, all losses. So the southpaw made sure those five runs held up in completing the three-game sweep of their American League Central rival, marking a fourth straight White Sox victory, and sending the Royals (7-14) to their seventh straight loss.
Royals manager Ned Yost said the effort is there. "I'm seeing too much effort at times. This is a group that plays their tails off."
Avisail Garcia broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth against Royals starter Nathan Karns (0-2). Melky Cabrera opened the frame with a single and was on second with two outs when Garcia connected for his fourth home run of the season. Garcia's blast covered 451 feet, per Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 110.7 mph and a launch angle of 30 degrees. It had a hit probability of 98 percent, marking his third-longest home run of the Statcast™ era.
"I was trying to go down and away with a fastball," Karns said. "I left it kind of middle-middle. He didn't miss it."
• Avi setting sail for Sox
Quintana yielded one earned run over six innings and 99 pitches, striking out 10, including seven in the first three innings. It was Quintana's eighth career outing with double-digit strikeouts. Karns struck out five and walked none in six innings. Leury Garcia added a seventh-inning home run, his second, to complete the scoring.
"Yeah, it was a mission. Everybody was doing their job," Quintana said. "I needed this outing, so I felt really good on the mound. It was extra motivation to win my first one. [White Sox catcher Geovany Soto] called a good game, and we focused the whole game. I threw the ball well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kahnle brings the heat: The Royals had the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of Salvador Perez with two outs in the seventh, facing Tommy Kahnle, who has moved into a late-inning relief role based on his success and injuries to Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka. Kahnle stranded runners at first and second when he fired a 100-mph fastball by Perez, handing the game over to Nate Jones and Player Page for David Robertson.
"He's been kind of chipping away at those opportunities and doing a nice job," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We needed a big out right there. He came in and he did it."
No justice for Hoz: The Royals had a chance to do some damage in the sixth inning. Rookie Jorge Bonifacio drove in Alcides Escobar from second base with a single to center, tying the score, 2-2. The Royals then had two on and two out with Eric Hosmer up against Quintana and Hosmer lined a bullet toward Cabrera in left, who caught the liner, which seemed to knock him to the ground. Statcast™ measured Hosmer's liner at 112.9 mph.
"It's frustrating, but we have to continue to stick with it," Hosmer said. "It seems every time Gordo [Royals outfielder Alex Gordon] rips a ball, it's right into the shift. Esky [Escobar] had a couple of balls today that could have been hits. I know we keep saying it, but that's all part of the game." More >
"I wanted to stay in the game. I wanted to go back in the seventh inning, but he said, 'If we take the lead, you'll stay. If we are tied, you're back.' That's good. All of the time I want to stay in the game and never leave the game. I wanted to keep doing that."-- Quintana on trying to convince Renteria to let him stay in the game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Royals haven't lost this many consecutive games -- seven -- since dropping eight straight last June to begin a 2-8 road trip through Cleveland, Baltimore and here. Their last winless road trip of this length was in 2006, when they went 0-9.
Quintana avoided becoming the first White Sox pitcher to lose his first five starts of a season since Randy Scarberry in 1979. It was also his first win against the Royals since Sept. 5, 2015.
Royals: After an off-day Thursday, the Royals open a 10-game homestand beginning Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT against the Twins with right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-2, 2.08 ERA) taking the hill.
White Sox: After a scheduled off-day on Thursday, the White Sox begin a 10-game road trip at Comerica Park Friday night with a first pitch of 6:10 p.m. Mike Pelfrey makes his second start for the White Sox, facing the Tigers, who let him go during Spring Training.
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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.