Cain homer, Royals' relief corps deny White Sox

Cain homer, Royals' relief corps deny White Sox

CHICAGO -- Lorenzo Cain homered and five Royals pitchers combined to limit the White Sox to seven hits during a 2-1 Kansas City victory on Saturday afternoon before 27,631 at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have lost eight of their last 10 games and slipped to 1-4 on this 10-game homestand. The Royals have a 5-1 mark in their last six games.

Danny Duffy hurled 4 1/3 scoreless innings, but was on a pitch count and exited when his afternoon total reached 63. He was followed to the mound by Peter Moylan, Brian Flynn, Joakim Soria and Wade Davis. The White Sox finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

"It's a lot more fun to win than it is to lose," Duffy said. "I think we've found something. Our identity is just grinding out at-bats and trying to do everything we can to just get the ball to [Kelvin] Herrera, Soria and Wade."

Duffy's scoreless outing

Miguel Gonzalez made his best start as a member of the White Sox, yielding two runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out eight and didn't issue a walk after struggling with his control his last time out in New York. Eric Hosmer drove in the Royals' first run with a first-inning sacrifice fly, and Cain went deep leading off the sixth.

Hosmer's sac fly

"Strike one and try not to do too much and walk guys. That's really huge on me," said Gonzalez, who is 0-6 in 12 starts since his last win on July 25, 2015, with the Orioles. "Staying tall and staying closed, and that's what we did tonight. It was a little short ... but we battled out there, hitters weren't giving up any at-bats and that's what it's all about."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sturdy bridge: In only his third Major League appearance this season, Moylan held the White Sox scoreless over 1 2/3 innings and helped bridge the gap between Duffy and the dominant back end of the Royals' bullpen. Moylan gave up hits to Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie in the sixth, but got Austin Jackson to ground out to third to end the sixth. Moylan has yet to surrender a run in three innings this season. Soria did his part, too, by throwing two innings and getting the Royals out of a bases-loaded jam with only one run scoring in the seventh.

Moylan gets out of trouble

"It means we have a complete team and we don't rely on just one guy," Soria said. "We can go early in the bullpen, and we have plenty of guys there to perform." More >

Just missed it: Cabrera, who reached base twice, just missed tying the game off Duffy with one out in the fourth. But his long drive to left-center hit The Drive mark on the wall -- which is in place to commemorate Dewayne Wise's amazing catch during Mark Buehrle's perfect game -- and stayed in the ballpark.

"When you lose by a run, it's always tougher. You look at Melky's ball that hits the very top of the wall and doesn't go over," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "There's always slim margins that make it hurt. If you get blown out 10-1, you had no chance anyway. These are always the ones you look back at the opportunities you had and they're harder to get over."

The streak is over, but ... The White Sox had not scored a run since the second inning of Friday's loss when they loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh Saturday. They scored a run on Jose Abreu's double-play grounder, but could produce no more when Todd Frazier grounded out to Mike Moustakas at third.

Navarro scores on double play

"It's a little frustrating," Frazier said. "You get one opportunity and that sometimes is all you get during a game. You know, I had a chance to drive in a run there, maybe two, and just didn't get the job done." More >

Hot in May: Cain's sixth-inning homer to left-center continued his excellent month. Cain hit .220/.297/.293 in April, but entered play batting .314/.347/.486 in May. His homer was his sixth this season, his fourth this month, and it proved to be a needed run for the Royals.

"We're playing our style," Cain said. "We got back to it. We've just got to continue to do that, and hopefully continue to consistently win ballgames."

QUOTABLE
"A loss is a loss to me. Unless you got blown out by a dozen, if you lose a ballgame, you lost a ballgame. It just makes you more hungry for tomorrow, that's all." -- Tyler Saladino, on close losses being tougher to handle

"It's our first real kind of test in the division and the Royals are doing their job and we basically are not." -- Frazier, on the struggling White Sox offense

DOING HIS PART
White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton has reached base in 15 straight games.

RUN OF EXCELLENCE
The Royals have a 23-7 record over their last 30 games played at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox are 35-60 vs. the Royals since 2011.

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (4-2, 4.85 ERA) starts the three-game series finale against the White Sox on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Ventura is coming off back-to-back wins, and the Royals have won each of the past two games he has started at U.S. Cellular Field.

White Sox: Carlos Rodon (1-4, 4.73 ERA) makes his ninth start of the season, fifth at U.S. Cellular and first career one against the Royals. Rodon has a 10-10 record with a 4.03 ERA in 31 career starts, dating back to last season.

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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.

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.