Floyd delivers as White Sox shut down Royals

Floyd delivers as White Sox shut down Royals

Floyd delivers as White Sox shut down Royals
CHICAGO -- Gavin Floyd says he's just trying to simplify things. His results lately have been simply stupendous.

Floyd continued his hot streak with 7 2/3 scoreless innings, leading the White Sox to a 5-0 win over the Royals in the series opener on Friday.

The White Sox right-hander held the Royals to five hits, coming up four outs shy of his first career shutout. Floyd had a rain-shortened, five-inning shutout as a member the Phillies on May 11, 2006 -- six years to the day before Friday's gem.

"I'm really just trying to be aggressive with whatever I'm throwing," Floyd said. "I'm trying to let the team field the ball. I'm just trying to simplify things."

Floyd has allowed just four earned runs in his last 28 2/3 innings over his last four starts. He has thrown nine innings in a game just once, on May 23, 2008, against the Angels. The right-hander departed on Friday with two out and the bases loaded in the eighth after throwing 116 pitches.

"I don't think he's predictable," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's got great command of getting ahead and using all his pitches, but he's not predictable. He can throw anything in any count."

The White Sox won their third straight game, their longest streak since they won four straight April 20-23, and moved within one game of .500 with positive signs emerging all over for three players who struggled last season.

Adam Dunn hammered his 11th homer of the season into the right-field seats in the first inning, matching his season total for 2011. He also stroked a ground-rule double, walked twice and didn't strike out in a game for the first time this season.

"That's good," Dunn said. "Again, to me, I get as mad as anyone [about strikeouts]. To me, I'm not going to change my approach or what I'm going to do unless the situation dictates that."

Gordon Beckham had two hits, including a double off the center-field fence that just missed leaving the park to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead through three innings. Beckham also scored a run in his fourth straight start as the No. 2 batter in Ventura's starting lineup.

Alex Rios' two-run triple in the sixth gave the White Sox some breathing room -- and a 4-0 lead -- after seven of their previous eight games had been decided by two runs or fewer.

Alejandro De Aza chipped in with two singles, a run and stole two bases as the White Sox improved to 51-23 against Kansas City at U.S. Cellular Field since 2004. De Aza has hit in eight straight games and is batting .381 so far in May.

"We have guys that are making solid contact, quality at-bat after quality at-bat," Ventura said. "They're in a nice spot right now."

But the star of the night was Floyd (3-3), who entered the game with the second-lowest run support in the American League (2.09). The five runs he got on Friday proved to be more than enough.

"He was spotting his fastball to both sides of the plate, keeping it down, good slider -- really good slider," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's what kept our right-handed hitters at bay. He was just executing quality pitches all night long."

Floyd escaped a second-inning jam when Kansas City loaded the bases with one out. He induced Alcides Escobar to hit a comebacker, forcing Mike Moustakas at home. Floyd also got Humberto Quintero to hit a comebacker to end the threat.

"We had a shot in the second with the bases loaded," Yost said. "[Escobar] came out of his approach a little bit trying to do too much."

The Royals loaded the bases with one out against Floyd again in the eighth with three singles. Floyd struck out Billy Butler, giving way to Matt Thornton, who came on face Eric Hosmer. Thornton struck out Hosmer to snuff the rally.

"Not necessarily the best situation to bring a guy into, but Matty was up for that," Ventura said.

The White Sox improved to 9-7 against AL Central opponents, an area of focus after struggling to a 23-40 mark against division foes last season.

"There is plenty of baseball left, but I think we're playing them well," Floyd said. "We're in the mix and we've got to just keep on focusing on one game, go out there tomorrow and try to win the series."

Bradford Doolittle is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.