KANSAS CITY -- As has been the case ever since Jeremy Guthrie was deal to Kansas City last summer, the right-hander shut down the White Sox Saturday night.
Guthrle limited the White Sox to four hits in his first career shutout as Kansas City won, 2-0, in front of 19,957 fans on a cloudy, chilly evening at Kauffman Stadium.
"It was quick, it was Maddux-like," manager Robin Ventura said. "He was going for the two-hour mark.”
Guthrie made his sixth start against the White Sox as a member of the Royals, and over 44 2/3 innings he's only allowed two earned runs. In a game that lasted just over two hours, the right-hander only had three strikeouts, but largely kept the ball on the ground and walked just one.
In his first start against the Sox this year, Guthrie allowed one run in six innings but struck out nine. The shift from striking out to putting the ball in play was part of a change in approach the White Sox took Saturday night.
"We were trying to get him early, and obviously that didn't work either," first baseman Adam Dunn said. "He's in a groove right now, he's throwing the ball well."
Guthrie mixed and located his pitches well, throwing 74 of his 106 pitches for strikes with a steady diet of straight fastballs, sinkers and sliders. The Sox offense was off-balance all game, just as they were the previous five times they've faced Guthrie.
"You got a guy who has that many pitches, also locates a really good fastball, you can't go along guessing with a guy like him," Dunn said. "He'll use any pitch in any count, and he's good."
While Guthrie stymied the White Sox offense, starter Dylan Axelrod succeeded in wriggling out of a number of tough spots. He only yielding two runs on eight hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings, but would've had to work out of every jam to give the Sox a chance.
That didn't happen. In the first inning, Axelrod hit Royals DH Billy Butler with two out and surrendered a single to first baseman Eric Hosmer. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain, then, hit a line drive to right that wound up out of the reach of a diving Alex Rios, leading to both runs scoring.
It was all the offense Kansas City needed to support Guthrie.
"You gotta tell yourself in those situations that you might give up one, but that's the extent of it, just don't let it manifest into a big inning," Axelrod said. "… Just tried to not put too much pressure on myself by saying I can't let anybody score. Just go out there and eat up some innings and see if we can score some runs."
The White Sox couldn't do that, though. The fourth inning saw the team's best scoring opportunity, when Dunn walked and Paul Konerko doubled to right with two out. Third base coach Joe McEwing initially waived Dunn home, but decided against it at the last second as Kansas City relayed the ball back in. Third baseman Conor Gillaspie followed with a strikeout to end the threat.
The Sox threatened again in the eighth, as Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza singled to put the tying run on base. But Guthrie got Jeff Keppinger to make a soft out to shortstop to end the inning, and he retired the White Sox in order in the ninth to end the contest.
"Axe was good, and Guthrie was better," Ventura said. "He’s been tough on us before. It’s just one of those tonight he’s getting ahead, not giving you much. We had one shot at him and he gets out of it. Even Axe, that ball is a couple feet away from Rios and we’re probably still out there.
"It was one of those games where we couldn’t get anything going. That guy has been tough on (us) before."