Ventura's 10 K's help Royals win set with White Sox

Ventura's 10 K's help Royals win set with White Sox

CHICAGO -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura threw seven strong innings and surrendered one run to seal a series-clinching 3-1 win over the White Sox in Sunday's finale at U.S. Cellular Field.

Ventura, appealing a nine-game suspension for his part in Tuesday's benches-clearing fiasco against the Orioles, struck out 10 and walked one. It was the fifth time in Ventura's career he has struck out 10 or more.

"He was unbelievably good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Today was the perfect example of what he's capable of achieving. He stayed within his delivery and stayed within himself. He executed pitches without overthrowing."

Yost instructed Ventura after he came out of the game to watch video on Monday of every single pitch.

"I was just trying to get the ball out of the glove quickly and get out front, and I felt comfortable today with that," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol.

The Royals scored against White Sox starter Carlos Rodon on Kendrys Morales' single in the first and Whit Merrifield's single in the second, then added an insurance run when Salvador Perez homered off Zach Putnam in the ninth. Rodon logged six innings and struck out seven, but the Royals won for the second day in a row, a rebound from their previous eight-game losing streak. The White Sox have lost 14 of 18 overall and 11 of their past 12 against American League Central opponents.

Merrifield's RBI single to left

"There's no magic formula for [improving]," White Sox catcher Alex Avila said. "There's nothing you can say, there's nothing you can do, other than make sure you are prepared to come each game. The past few days we've been getting some really good pitching, some quality starts. Basically, we've been playing good defense, and the one key that has been kind of missing is key hits in situations."

The victory was manager Ned Yost's 500th with Kansas City.

"The series win means more to me than that," Yost said. "I don't really look at that stuff for myself. This win was a big win because it was a team win. That's what is important."

Free outs: The Royals could have done more damage against Rodon, but their running game actually cost them three outs and at least one big offensive inning. Paulo Orlando was caught stealing in the second, and the Royals followed with three straight hits. Later in the inning, Christian Colon was thrown out at third on an attempted double steal. In the next inning, Lorenzo Cain singled with one out, but was ruled out attempting to steal second when Morales struck out and then obstructed the catcher's throw to second.

Put it on the board: Jose Abreu gave the White Sox their only run and continued his hot homestand with a sixth-inning homer to dead center field. Abreu has reached base in 10 straight games and is hitting .400 (14-35) with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs in his past nine.

Abreu's solo shot

Big hit for Morales: The Royals designated hitter didn't have a good road trip (7-for-33) overall, but he did come through with a big two-out RBI hit in the first inning. Morales now has six hits in his last 18 at-bats.

Morales' RBI single

Double-play trouble: The White Sox hit into three double plays, taking away any chance for offensive momentum. In his third Major League game, shortstop Tim Anderson hit into a 4-6-3 double play that erased J.B. Shuck's leadoff single in the third, then bounced into a 6-4-3 double play with runners on the corners to end the fifth. Avisail Garcia also hit into a 6-4-3 sequence to end the seventh.

Anderson's great grounder

"We were pretty much offensively challenged by the other guy," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I think he was great. He just seemed to be in control. ... It seemed like any time we got something going, he snuffed it out."

Ventura became the second Royals pitcher in franchise history to have 10 or more strikeouts with 91 or fewer pitches. Danny Duffy struck out 10 on Saturday with 88 pitches before Ventura's 91. More >

Two of the White Sox top offensive forces have fallen on tough times of late. Adam Eaton is 11-for-72 over his last 19 games, while Todd Frazier is 8-for-56 over his last 15.

The Royals challenged a caught stealing of Orlando in the second inning. But the call on the field was confirmed. That could have cost the Royals at least one run, as the next three hitters singled.

Avila throws out Orlando

Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.25 ERA) will get the ball for the series opener on Monday at 7:15 p.m. CT against the Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Volquez will be facing the Tribe for the third time this season, yielding two homers and four walks in each of the previous meetings.

White Sox: Right-hander James Shields will make his second start with the White Sox on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT against the Tigers, and he will be hoping for a better result. In his Chicago debut, he gave up seven earned runs in two-plus innings, taking the loss against the Nationals.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for based in Chicago and covered the White Sox on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.