A day after touching up two longtime nemeses, the White Sox take on Wade Davis and the Kansas City Royals Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet at 12:30 p.m.
KANSAS CITY -- Ask any White Sox fan their expected result from a game in which Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen appear and no-hitter would top the list of responses.
For years, Chen has tormented the team from the South Side and last season Guthrie appeared out of nowhere to surpass his teammate in his dominance of the White Sox.
But on Friday night the White Sox offense, a group that has struggled as much as any in team history over the last 50 seasons, unloaded on the pair and perhaps exorcised a few demons in a 9-1 win at Kauffman Stadium, their largest margin of victory of the year.
The win -- the team’s sixth in its last 23 games -- snapped a three-game losing streak and improved the team’s record to 2-6 on its current road trip. The fact that it came against Guthrie and Chen didn’t go unnoticed.
“It’s like you’re exorcizing some kind of curse or something,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was good.”
It was cleansing.
Last season, Guthrie and Chen combined to go 6-1 against the White Sox in nine starts. The two started a pair of mid-September games in Kansas City that sent the White Sox into a 2-10 tailspin in which they finally fell out of first place.
The offense jumped all over Guthrie in the first inning after Alejandro De Aza opened the game with a nine-pitch walk. Alexei Ramirez then doubled and Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko drew consecutive walks to push across the first run. Conor Gillaspie’s sac fly made it 2-0 and the White Sox didn’t look back.
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“(Guthrie) has always had good outings against us and he’s a good pitcher,” Ramirez said through a translator. “But today we took advantage of him not throwing as many strikes.”
Did they ever.
The White Sox matched a season-high when they scored five more times in the third inning to end Guthrie’s night. Alex Rios and Dunn each drove in a run and Dayan Viciedo blasted a three-run homer off Chen to make it 7-0.
The six earned runs allowed by Guthrie in 2 1/3 innings tripled the White Sox output off the right-hander in their previous 44 2/3 innings as he won three of six starts and had a 0.40 ERA.
“That’s two guys historically that owned us,” Dunn said. “Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.”
But they weren’t done yet.
De Aza hit a second home run off Chen in the sixth inning, a two-run shot, to put the White Sox ahead 9-0. The White Sox took advantage of the cushion as they gave Rios and Konerko a few innings to rest.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had an easy win like that so it feels really good,” Viciedo said through a translator.
Hector Santiago only enhanced the experience.
The left-hander got ahead in the count all evening and had Royals hitters off-balance as he used his entire repertoire. Santiago pitched around a first-inning double by Eric Hosmer and retired 12 straight in the middle innings.
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With a big lead to work with, Santiago attacked Kansas City’s offense at will and cruised for a career-best eight innings. He allowed a run and three hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
“It’s good when you’re ahead and can hit your spots and putting pressure on them,” Santiago said.
Afterward the White Sox spoke of hope that they could carry an effort like Friday’s over as they try to gain any kind of momentum. Players silenced by losses in six of seven games to Houston and Minnesota were livelier in the postgame clubhouse. Announcer Hawk Harrelson also was visibly relaxed when he stepped off the elevator and told a group of reporters “All right.”
“You can look around right now and you can see it,” Dunn said. “Everybody’s spirits are lifted up a little bit and it’s amazing what happens with just one game. That’s how this team is. This is a fun team, 25 guys get along. It seems like when one struggles everybody struggles but you can see a sigh of relief tonight.”