LIVE: Royals pounding Sox, Stewart

539107.jpg

LIVE: Royals pounding Sox, Stewart

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 12:00 p.m.

Associated Press

Thanks in part to rookie Eric Hosmer, the Kansas City Royals are winding down another sub-.500 season on a positive note.

The Royals seek their first seven-game winning streak in three years Saturday night against the visiting Chicago White Sox, who will try to avoid a season high-tying seventh straight loss.

Hosmer helped Kansas City (66-86) extend its run Friday by doubling in the winning run in the ninth inning, lifting the Royals to a 7-6 victory.

"I got beat up pretty good," said Hosmer, who finished with three hits and is batting .346 (9 for 26) over the last six games. "You're just so happy when you get a walk-off win. You can't even feel it. You just look for the bruises later."

Though he didn't debut until May 6, Hosmer leads all AL rookies with 139 hits and trails only Atlanta's Freddie Freeman (154) for the major league lead. Hosmer's total is the most by a Royals rookie since Angel Berroa had 163 en route to winning the AL rookie of the year award in 2003.

Kansas City, 8-5 against Chicago this year, hasn't won seven in a row since Sept. 13-18, 2008.

"Hopefully we can keep this streak up and go into the off season looking good," said Alex Gordon, who scored the winning run.

Regardless of their late-season surge, the Royals will finish below .500 for the seventh straight year.

Brent Morel hit his sixth homer in 14 games this month for the White Sox (73-77), who last dropped seven in a row April 13-20.

"It's tough," Morel said of the skid. "We haven't been playing good."

Morel, who hit two homers in his first 99 games, is batting .167 (8 for 28) against Kansas City.

Chicago will try to end its losing streak as it faces Royals rookie Everett Teaford, who's coming off his first major league win. Teaford (1-0, 2.73 ERA) surrendered three hits and struck out five over five scoreless innings in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Seattle.

"To have my 100th (professional) start, my first big-league start and my first win of my career, and my dad here. ... You can't write a better story than that," Teaford said.

The left-hander will be making his first start in Kansas City after going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA and one save in 15 appearances at Kauffman Stadium.

In two games against the White Sox, Teaford has yielded two hits in 1 1-3 innings.

Fellow rookie Zach Stewart (2-4, 4.63) gets the start for Chicago and will be looking to avenge a loss in his first meeting with Kansas City.

The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 defeat to the Royals on Aug. 12. Since then, Stewart has gone 1-2 with a 5.59 ERA in six games, including four starts.

Coming off a one-hitter Sept. 5 at Minnesota, Stewart gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings of Sunday's 7-3 loss to Cleveland.

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.