Royals roll to keep pace in Wild Card chase

Royals roll to keep pace in Wild Card chase

CHICAGO -- Whit Merrifield drove in three runs and Salvador Perez had two run-scoring doubles as the Royals rolled to an 8-2 win over the White Sox on Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Royals remained 4 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"We got to win," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "[Friday night's loss] made the mountain we're climbing a lot steeper. Wish we had won that. Minnesota has to next play Cleveland, which is red hot. We just got to win."

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu got his 99th and 100th RBIs of the season on a single and a groundout. He is the third player in Major League history to start a career with four straight seasons of at least 25 home runs and at least 100 RBIs.

Abreu picks up his 100th RBI

Royals starter Danny Duffy, making his second start back from the disabled list (low-grade pronator strain), went six-plus innings and gave up eight hits and two runs, while walking two and striking out two.

"Got the pitch count up a little in the first inning," Yost said. "Then, he got the pitch count back down and I thought, 'Geez, this kid might go eight innings.' Just a great job by Danny. He had it all working."

Duffy's solid outing

Added Duffy, "I felt great tonight. I felt I was emptying everything in the tank. Felt really good."

White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey, in his 11th start, nailed down his first quality start. He went six innings and gave up five hits and three runs while walking one and striking out three.

"Had a good week of work with [bullpen coach Curt Hasler], [pitching coach Don Cooper] and [starter James Shields]," Covey said. "Was talking about angle on my pitches, having an aggressive mentality. I felt like I was still maybe pitching behind in the counts a little bit too much, but I felt like there were a lot of positive things to take over into my next start."

Sal to the fence: Perez got things going for the Royals in the fourth inning. Trailing 1-0, Eric Hosmer walked. Perez then roped a double to left-center field. Third-base coach Mike Jirschele, who had two runners thrown out at the plate on Friday, sent Hosmer, who scored the tying run with ease. Perez then scored on Mike Moustakas' single to center for a 2-1 lead.

Perez's RBI double ties it up

The game-breaker: Merrifield came up in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out with the Royals holding a 3-1 lead. Against his old teammate, right-hander Al Alburquerque, Merrifield jumped on a 1-2 sinker and rifled it into left-center field to clear the bases.

Merrifield clears the bases

"Huge hit," Yost said. "Two-strike hit. Missed the first two strikes by a foot each and then drove one in the gap. Huge hit for us."

"Honestly, I don't feel as happy as I wanted because we lost today. But personally, it feels good to get this goal, this accomplishment. It's very special for me, for my family, too." -- Abreu, on reaching 100 RBIs

Renteria on Abreu and 8-2 loss

Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-12, 5.39 ERA) will take the mound at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday for the series finale against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Kennedy made his first start in 11 days on Tuesday in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays, going five innings and giving up two runs.

White Sox: Rookie right-hander Lucas Giolito (2-3, 2.58) is scheduled to make his seventh start of the season, fifth at home and second against the Royals in Sunday's series finale. He is 1-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 21 strikeouts over his last four starts (three quality) covering 25 1/3 innings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

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

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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