Royals win series to even AL home-field race

Royals win series to even AL home-field race

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Kris Medlen likely solidified his postseason rotation spot with six solid innings, and Jonny Gomes drove in three runs as the Royals held off the White Sox for a 6-4 win on a chilly Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

With the win, the Royals (92-67) pulled even with the Blue Jays for the American League's best record and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, though the Blue Jays hold the tiebreaker after winning the season series, 4-3.

"It's nice to get the 92nd win and pull even with the Blue Jays," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Gomes' two-run single

Jose Abreu drove in two runs to give him 101 RBIs on the season, becoming the second player in Major League history to reach 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first two seasons and the first since Albert Pujols in 2000 and '01.

"It's a big accomplishment for him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "All the guys are proud of him. It's special for a guy to be able to do that and just there's not a big list. This game's been around a long time and for somebody to accomplish that just shows to his character and dedication, and all that stuff [to] him coming to the park everyday as a pro."

Medlen's solid start

Medlen gave up just four hits and one earned run, while walking three and striking out four. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.

White Sox left-hander John Danks gave up six runs and 11 hits in five innings.

"Just one of those nights against him," Yost said. "Maybe we beat him one time in all my time in Kansas City."

It was the first time the Royals had ever beaten Danks at U.S. Cellular Field, and just their third win overall against Danks in 22 career starts.

"They found some holes," Danks said. "Command wasn't where it needs to be, but I certainly felt like I threw the ball better than the line shows. You gotta tip your hat. They put the bat on the ball and found some holes, made things happen and it is what it is."

Moose on the loose: Mike Moustakas got the Royals' offense going against Danks with a two-out RBI double down the left-field line in the first. The ground-rule hit cost the Royals a run as Kendrys Morales, who left the game in the fifth inning because of quad tightness, would have scored easily. Moustakas was back at it in the third with an RBI single that scored Eric Hosmer, who had tripled.

"We just kind of decided to attack him early," Moustakas said of Danks. "He's a pitcher who's always around the strike zone, always throws strikes, so we tried to get a good pitch early and attack."

Join the (small) club: With his single in the seventh inning, Abreu became the 12th player in the Majors to record 100 RBIs in each of his first two seasons and the first since Hideki Matsui. Abreu knocked in Tyler Flowers and Adam Eaton on the play, also becoming the second player in White Sox history to hit the mark in his first two seasons with the club, joining Albert Belle. More >

Abreu's two-run single

"I was thinking a lot about it every time," Abreu said through a translator. "I tried to not think about it, but I couldn't do it because it was something that was in my head. Because I like the stats, it's something that I was always thinking about. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn't do it."

Here comes Jonny: Gomes snapped a 0-for-16 slump with a two-run single in the third. The sharp single to center gave the Royals a 4-0 lead. Gomes then hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth to plate the sixth run.

Gomes' sacrifice fly

Escobar's error: With a 1-0 lead and runners on first and second, the White Sox tacked on another run thanks to a rare error by Alcides Escobar. Alexei Ramirez's grounder toward the shortstop went between the legs, scoring Melky Cabrera. Escobar entered Thursday with a .981 fielding percentage and 12 errors, which would be the best marks of his career since his first full season in 2010.

"Yes, definitely. I was at a pretty low spot going into the All-Star break. First half I felt like nothing really went right, and it was a little discouraging. I had two directions to go, I guess at that point. The second half was better. I think I can still improve on that but definitely feel good going into next year. I'm going to work hard and I know I need to be better than I was this year." -- Danks, after he finished with a 3.67 ERA after the All-Star break compared to his 5.30 ERA before the break

With two out in the second inning, first-base umpire Ted Barrett ruled Carlos Sanchez had been picked off at first base on a throw by Medlen. White Sox manager Robin Ventura challenged the ruling, but the call on the field was ruled as stands, ending the inning.

Medlen picks off Sanchez

Chicago lost its challenge on the replay in the second inning, but Ventura asked for umpires to review a play at the plate in the eighth inning. With two out, Ramirez came home and was tagged out by reliever Kelvin Herrera to end the inning. Umpires reviewed the call and it was confirmed.

Royals: Right-hander Chris Young (11-6, 3.15 ERA) will get the ball on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT for the opener of a three-game set against the Twins at Target Field. In his first start after two months, Young three five hitless innings against the Indians on Sunday.

White Sox: Ace Chris Sale (12-11, 3.48) will make his final start of the season on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT in the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. The left-hander needs three strikeouts to eclipse the franchise single-season record of 269 set in 1908.

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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.