Pair of White Sox homers brings KC down

Pair of White Sox homers brings KC down

KANSAS CITY -- Jose Quintana threw seven shutout innings and Alexei Ramirez hammered a three-run homer as the White Sox held off the Royals, 6-1, on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals' magic number to clinch the American League Central remained at 16.

Quintana danced out of several jams as he gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out five to beat the Royals for the first time in 17 career starts.

"I'm so excited to get this game. It's really fun when you get runs," said Quintana of his club's third straight victory and second straight against the AL Central leaders. "I'm excited to get the series for us and we continue to try, day by day, to get some wins."

Quintana's excellent outing

Royals starter Danny Duffy threw seven serviceable innings, striking out seven, but got hurt by the long ball -- one to Ramirez and a solo shot to Geovany Soto.

Going way back: The White Sox attack involved the long ball. Ramirez connected on a 1-2 pitch from the southpaw with one out in the fourth that scored Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia for a 3-0 lead. Soto added a long solo blast in the seventh. Soto's ninth homer left the bat at 108 mph per Statcast™, while Ramirez's drive exited at 101 mph.

"[Alexei] swung the bat great. That's a big homer for us. Even talking last night, we get a homer with some guys on base, it makes a big difference for us," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We haven't had a whole lot of that, so when we get it, it's a big shot in the arm, a good separation from them. They got it to 4-1, and we needed all of them."

Soto's solo homer

Game of what? Duffy's outing turned in an instant after he got ahead of Ramirez 0-2 in the fourth. Duffy unleashed a 95-mph fastball at the knees down the middle, but the pitch was called a ball. Duffy came back with a curve that seemed to just roll toward the plate and Ramirez seemed to be expecting it and jumped it, sending the ball over the left-field fence for a three-run homer.

Duffy at first thought his 0-2 pitch was a strike but ...

"In the moment, yes, I thought it was a strike," Duffy said, "but not when I went back to look at it. I had seen it with my heart and not my eyes. He had called a strike low in the zone earlier but that one was lower." More >

Duffy fans Eaton to end the 7th

Missed chances: The Royals had runners on first and third with none out in the second and didn't score. They had a runner on second with one out in both the third and fourth and didn't score. They had runners on second and third and one out in the seventh and, you guessed it, didn't score.

Quintana works out of jam

They finally broke through in the eighth with three infield hits and were threatening for more with runners at the corners and one out. Then pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas sent a missile headed for center field but Ramirez, who was racing to cover the bag on an attempted steal, somehow fell back to his right and speared the liner on one hop. He got up, touched the bag and threw to first for a double play.

"Moose scalded that ball up the middle," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Just good reactions there from Ramirez.

"We had chances. We just couldn't capitalize on them, for sure. Quintana does a good job of changing speeds with his curveball, locating his fastball and keeping you off balance."

Ramirez's diving double play

The White Sox are 17-11 on the road since June 30, the second-best mark in the American League behind the Yankees (17-10). They have outscored the opposition, 147-89, in the last 28 road games.

"Just seems like we get hot and we get cold and there's not a lot of in between. But you know, the great part of it is we are never out of it. I don't think we've let down at all. We might have let down a little bit on the field, but our hearts are in the right spot and we are trying to compete every day." -- White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham

White Sox: Erik Johnson makes his 2015 Major League debut in Sunday's series finale, as the White Sox go for a sweep of the Royals after losing their first six at Kauffman Stadium. Johnson was 11-8 with a 2.37 ERA for Triple-A Charlotte this season.

Royals: Right-hander Johnny Cueto (9-10, 3.04 ERA) tries to right his ship for the Royals. Cueto has lost three straight and has given up 17 runs in his last 17 innings and is just 2-4 with a 4.21 ERA since joining the Royals from the Reds.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.