CHICAGO -- Melky Cabrera delivered a two-run single to center on an 0-2 pitch from Yordano Ventura with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, helping the White Sox to a 3-2 victory before 34,526 on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox prevented a Kansas City sweep, although Chicago has a 1-5-1 record in the last seven series.
Alex Avila opened the bottom of the fifth by drawing a walk and moved to second on Austin Jackson's single. Two outs later, Todd Frazier drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Cabrera. White Sox hitters were 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position during this series until that moment.
"It was big one when Fraz got us on the board [with a fourth-inning homer], but the one with Melky, we've been scuffling with guys on base, especially with two outs," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It was just a clutch hit for us. It kind of relieved a lot of pressure. And the way [Carlos Rodon] is pitching, it just kind of moved us in the direction we needed to go."
Rodon earned the victory, yielding eight hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. His only perfect inning came in the first, but the left-hander managed to limit the damage. Ventura gave up three runs on six hits through six, striking out three and walking four.
"[Ventura] made a mistake to Melky," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Outside of that, I thought he pitched great. Limited the damage a couple of times, had chances for them to bunch together some hits and get some big innings going, but he did a nice job of containing that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Scary collision: When Cabrera popped up into foul territory with two outs in the seventh, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas raced back. Left fielder Alex Gordon ran in. The result was a knee-to-knee collision that left both players on the ground for several seconds as pitcher Luke Hochevar raced out to check on his teammates. Both players got up and stayed in the game, but the Royals pinch-hit Whit Merrifield for Gordon in the eighth. The Royals listed Gordon day to day with a right wrist sprain, and though he took a hard fall into the tarp, he was cleared of any head injury. More >
Quick study: After an 0-for-8 start to the series, Frazier admitted postgame Saturday that he needed to study a little more to prepare for some of these pitchers with whom he didn't have great familiarity. Frazier clearly is a fast learner, as he singled and homered in his first two at-bats against Ventura and reached base three times.
"I did it today," Frazier said of that extra studying. "I was just trying to focus on my kind of hitting. I was swinging at a lot of pitches, and I was saying slow it down a little bit, get my footwork ready. We're all professionals, and you've got to act like it and be like it. If we've got to do a little extra homework, you've got to do it."
Wall ball: With two outs and a runner on third in the sixth, Jackson belted a ball to deep right field. Paulo Orlando chased it back, hitting the wall as the ball fell in his glove. Orlando held on for the catch to save a run, end the inning and keep the Royals within one run. Orlando also had two hits in the game, making him 12 for his past 22 with a six-game hitting streak.
"He's always been a good defender," Yost said. "We [subbed him in defensively] last year for Alex Rios a lot because we have a lot of confidence in his defense." More >
Defensive excellence: It didn't take long for the White Sox to flash their glove work. Alcides Escobar lined Rodon's first pitch of the game down the right-field line, a shot that looked to be dropping foul. That point won't be ever known, though, as Adam Eaton made a sliding catch. First baseman Jerry Sands added a leaping catch with one out in the seventh to take extra bases from Moustakas in a one-run game.
"He's fantastic," Ventura said of Eaton. "I think he just gets great jumps, either on the line or going out in the gap, he just has a knack for it."
"You always want to win the series. That's your main goal. … We didn't have a lot of missed opportunities that I'm lamenting right now. It was a good job." -- Yost, on taking two of three from the White Sox
"He didn't get up very high. His arms are long, though." -- Ventura, on Sands' leaping catch in the seventh inning
ROBERTSON MAINTAINS BALANCE David Robertson picked up his 11th save with a perfect ninth inning, but not before a little bout with on-field dizziness. Robertson threw an off-speed pitch to Kendrys Morales and then got attention from Ventura and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider.
"I think I just jerked my head a little too much or something and just kind of got dizzy for a second," said Robertson, who was fine postgame after the brief spell. "I needed to catch my breath and make sure I was going to be able to throw it in the strike zone."
"At first you get nervous when he's shaking his arm," Ventura said. "I wish there was another sign he could do to say he was lightheaded instead of shaking his arm, but he said he was fine."
Robertson converted his first save since May 8 against the Twins. Twenty-four of his 26 career appearances against the Royals have been scoreless.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy opens a three-game series against the Twins on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Kennedy is 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA against the Twins in his career.
White Sox: The White Sox have a straight doubleheader Monday against the Indians, with Mat Latos (5-1, 4.00 ERA) starting Game 1 at 4:10 p.m. CT. Erik Johnson (0-1, 7.20) will be added from Triple-A Charlotte to start the nightcap.