LIVE: Morel's shot knots White Sox with Royals

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LIVE: Morel's shot knots White Sox with Royals

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011
Posted: 10:31 a.m.

Associated Press

Kansas City has long been eliminated from postseason contention, but that has not kept the Royals from stringing together a rare winning streak.

The Royals look to win six in a row for the first time in more than two years while trying to hand the Chicago White Sox - just now mathematically eliminated themselves - a sixth consecutive defeat Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Melky Cabrera had four hits and came within a triple of the cycle while rookie catcher Salvador Perez came a home run away from achieving the same feat as Kansas City (65-86) beat Chicago 7-2 on Thursday.

Though the Royals have secured an eighth straight losing season, they have won a season-high five in a row with a young lineup that expects to compete in the future. Kansas City has not won six straight since May 2-7, 2009.

"Up and down the lineup we're doing well," said designated hitter Billy Butler, who hit a three-run homer in the series opener.

Cabrera is batting a career-high .303 and has already set personal bests with 18 home runs and 82 RBIs. He's hit .407 (22 for 54) with three home runs and nine RBIs in 12 games versus Chicago in 2011.

"You can pretty much look at any game and he's made a difference for us offensively," Butler said.

With Cabrera's double Thursday, he, Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon have made the Royals the first team in major league history to have three outfielders with 40 or more two-baggers.

Perez, batting .318 since making his major league debut Aug. 10, is 15 for 36 during a nine-game hitting streak.

It's uncertain if Felipe Paulino (3-6, 4.10 ERA) will be part of the Royals' plans in 2012, but he takes the mound for this contest after a strong outing in last Saturday's 4-2 victory at Seattle. He allowed two solo homers but matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings.

The right-hander gave up three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of a 5-3 win at Chicago on July 5.

Paulino faces a White Sox (73-76) club that has dropped 11 of 16 and was eliminated from the AL Central race Thursday.

"It's a very disappointing, very inconsistent season," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I have regrets. Regrets we didn't play better. I thought we had a better shot to win the division."

A.J. Pierzynski recorded his 1,500 career hit while going 3 for 4 in the series opener, but is 11 for 51 (.216) in 13 games since coming off the disabled list from a broken wrist.

Scheduled Chicago starter and ex-Royal Philip Humber (9-8, 3.43) saw his 13 1-3-inning scoreless streak end Saturday when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-3, 10-inning victory over Cleveland. The right-hander is 1-0 in two starts since coming off the disabled list due to a facial contusion, yielding two runs over 13 innings.

Humber, who went 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in eight appearances for the Royals in 2010, is making his first start against his former team. He threw two scoreless innings of relief at Kansas City in April.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.