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.

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.