Offense plays starring role in KC's win over Chicago

Offense plays starring role in KC's win over Chicago

Offense plays starring role in KC's win over Chicago
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' starting pitching has been superb during the current homestand, and Saturday was no exception, but it was the offense's turn to play a starring role.

The Royals continued their history of success against White Sox starter Jake Peavy and littered the scoreboard with tallies, most prolifically in the eighth, when they posted four insurance runs en route to a 9-4 victory over the American League Central leaders at Kauffman Stadium.

To Peavy, a three-time All-Star, the Royals' bats are pure kryptonite. Kansas City scored five times off the righty and belted out nine hits. Peavy is now 0-6 in his last seven starts against the Royals.

"We've seen him so much that we've kind of got an idea of what he's going to do to us," said third baseman Mike Moustakas. "When you start seeing guys more and more frequently, it helps you out. You get a little more relaxed in the box. That's a great pitcher over there, and he's been doing it for a while. We just played well tonight, and we were able to scratch out a couple of hits."

Alex Gordon started it, doubling home Alcides Escobar in the first inning. Then the Royals, with a little help from Mother Nature, scored two unearned runs in the third, when the White Sox committed three errors, possibly due in part to the wet field conditions. Billy Butler picked up an RBI single in the fifth, and Eric Hosmer belted his 11th home run of the season, a solo shot, off Peavy in the seventh.

But despite all the damage the Royals inflicted upon Peavy, their advantage was just one run following Adam Dunn's eighth-inning two-run homer -- the 400th of his career -- which made the score 5-4.

That's when the offense turned on the afterburners, plating four runs with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Butler singled home Escobar for his third RBI of the night, and the next batter, Moustakas, crushed a three-run homer to right field to make it 9-4 and give the Royals plenty of breathing room.

"It starts with the top, getting those guys on, and then ... Billy getting that big hit," Moustakas said. "Those runs count, and against a team like that, you never know. They've got great players over there. Those are big runs for us anytime."

"5-4 is definitely by no means a comfortable situation coming in. [Closer Greg Holland's] done a great job, but nobody wants to be pitching with that tight of a lead," Butler said. "Sometimes you have to do it. We've had to do it enough. We've had to win enough tight ones, so it was good to have a cruise win."

Whereas the Royals poured on the runs late, the rains poured down early. Wet, slippery conditions plagued the first few innings, leading to some adventures in the field for the White Sox. Of course, the Royals happily took advantage.

Leading, 1-0, with two outs in the third inning, Gordon attempted to stretch a pop single into a double, and it looked as though Dayan Viciedo was going to throw him out at second base. But Gordon slid into the glove of Gordon Beckham, knocking the ball free for the inning's second error.

Butler then drove in Gordon with a base hit, and Moustakas followed with a line drive that bounced past the glove of right fielder Alex Rios. Butler scored, and Rios was charged with an error.

By the end of the inning, the Royals had three runs on the board, the same amount of errors as the White Sox made in the frame. Entering play Saturday, Seattle was the only AL team with fewer errors than Chicago.

"This game was kind of a disaster from the get-go," Dunn said. "These guys play us tough. To me, their record doesn't indicate how good they are. They put the ball in play and put a lot of pressure on your defense. If you aren't making the plays in the field or not making pitches, they are going to make you pay."

As has been the story for the entire homestand, the Royals received a stellar performance from a starting pitcher, this time Bruce Chen. The lefty pitched six strong innings, allowing just two runs on one swing when Paul Konerko hit a home run in the sixth. Chen walked just one and struck out five in picking up his ninth win of the season.

"He's really throwing the ball well now," manager Ned Yost said. "He's got his mix right. He's doing everything that we want him to do, and the results have been, I think, dramatically better. He's keeping hitters off balance with his fastballs, he's changing speeds on it: He's up to 90, he's down to 84. Good curveball, good changeup, moving the ball in and out. Doing a great job."

Chen said that the great starts his teammates have logged in the last few days carried over to this outing.

"I think pitching is contagious," Chen said. "I see all these guys doing well, and I say, 'You know what? I can do that.' And you start seeing how aggressive [they are] and how they're pitching. They're not letting anything bother them. They're pitching well and keeping the ball down, and you want to do the same thing."

What's becoming contagious is winning. The Royals are victorious in 12 of their last 16 games, with four coming against the first-place White Sox. They can pick up the sweep with a win on Sunday.

"We've made some changes in here, mentality-wise. We're very confident coming in here each day now," Butler said. "We believe in each other in here, and we've got a great group. We honestly believe that coming in every day right now that we're going to win."

Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.