Beckham's four hits can't slow Royals in finale
White Sox fall short in bid to start season 3-0 for first time since '92
CHICAGO -- Take six solid innings from starter Gavin Floyd, and three scoreless innings from reliever Hector Santiago.
Mix in eight combined times on base from eighth hitter Tyler Flowers and ninth hitter Gordon Beckham, and the White Sox would figure to be in solid shape to finish off a three-game sweep of the Royals on Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
Of course, those numbers don't factor in the recent dominance Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie has over the South Siders.
The right-hander allowed one run on five hits in six innings while striking out nine, as the Royals escaped with a 3-1 victory. The White Sox were attempting to start 3-0 for the first time since 1992 and for the 15th time overall.
Guthrie has faced the White Sox five times since joining the Royals -- allowing two earned runs over 35 2/3 combined innings.
"He's pretty good. He moves it around. He's not a one-pitch pitcher," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Guthrie, who threw 61 of his 94 pitches for strikes and walked just one. "He can take different pitches and make it look six different ways. He makes it tough on us."
"They were good today, and Guthrie was good," said Beckham, who matched a career high with his third four-hit game. "He didn't give up a lot of bad strikes. It seems like he made a lot of good pitches. It's not like we missed too many pitches today. I think he was that good."
All of the runs scored in the series finale came in the fifth inning.
Floyd, who was every bit as sharp as Guthrie with two earned runs allowed and five strikeouts over six, started the Royals' rally by issuing a one-out walk to Eric Hosmer. Jeff Francoeur followed with a perfectly-executed hit-and-run single to right, and Jarrod Dyson's groundout scored Hosmer.
Chris Getz picked up his first hit this season and first RBI since Aug. 15, 2012, with a run-scoring single to center and moved to second on Alejandro De Aza's fielding error. It was the White Sox third outfield error in the last two games. Alex Gordon finished the rally with a double to right to bring in Getz.
Even with that one inning, Floyd was satisfied with Thursday's body of work.
"I've been working on a lot of stuff and felt like it came together pretty well today," said Floyd, who exited after 94 pitches. "Tyler called a great game and I tried to execute as many pitches as I can."
"Gavin pitched well enough to get a win today," Ventura said. "You tip your cap to Guthrie for what he did. He didn't give us too many chances."
Flowers scored the lone run off of Guthrie, and the only White Sox run not courtesy of a home run this season, after getting grazed by a two-out pitch. He moved to third on Beckham's single to right, one of three opposite-field singles for the second baseman, and came home on De Aza's single. It was De Aza's first hit of the season, but Guthrie fanned Jeff Keppinger to end the frame.
A one-out walk to Flowers and Beckham's hit-and-run single to right put runners on first and third with one out in the third, but De Aza grounded into an inning-ending double play. The White Sox leadoff man hit into just one double play in 524 at-bats last year.
Singles from Flowers and Beckham off of reliever Aaron Crow with one out in the seventh gave the White Sox another scoring opportunity. But Dyson tracked down De Aza's line shot to right-center as the culmination of a nine-pitch at-bat and Keppinger grounded out.
De Aza, who left six on base, finished off the last rally by grounding out against Greg Holland with Flowers and Beckham on base in the ninth, as Holland preserved the win for Guthrie. For the season, the White Sox are 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
It's a combination of good Kansas City pitching and the White Sox timely hitting being a little slow out of the gate.
"That happens every once in a while," said Flowers of his team's RISP issue. "It seemed like we had quality at-bats for most of the day, and tip your cap to Guthrie. He's a quality pitcher."
"I've never had a mastery over any team but, if I do, I'll be sure to let you know," said Guthrie, adding a large portion of his strikeouts came off of sliders. "I never had one, but I've had quite a few that have had a mastery over me."
On the flip side of the Flowers and Beckham success were four swinging strikeouts by Dayan Viciedo and three strikeouts overall from Adam Dunn. Again, it was more about what the Royals pitchers did instead of what the White Sox hitters didn't during the culmination of this opening series win.
"It's definitely not the end of the world," Beckham said. "We feel good about what we're doing. We played a hard game; we just didn't have it today."