Kansas City, Mo. Playoff contenders should beware of the last-place Kansas City Royals.
Mark Teahen hit a two-run homer to highlight a six-run fourth inning, and the Royals held off the White Sox, 7-5, Friday night.
Since Aug. 8, the Royals are 3-0 against the Boston Red Sox, 4-2 against the Chicago White Sox, 2-1 against the Minnesota Twins and 2-2 against the Oakland Athletics.
"It is more exciting playing teams in it right now because obviously we're not playing for a whole lot," Teahen said. "To be able to knock off those teams is more exciting. We're not in the hunt, but we can affect who makes the playoffs."
The White Sox threatened in the ninth, loading the bases twice. Tadahito Iguchi drew a one-out walk, Jermaine Dye doubled, and Jim Thome walked before Paul Konerko made it 7-5 with a sacrifice fly. A.J. Pierzynski walked to load the bases again, but Joe Crede flew out to left for the final out.
"That's not exactly the way I drew it up," said rookie Joe Nelson, who picked up his fifth save in five opportunities. "It is a character builder, get yourself in a jam and get yourself out of a game. When Crede hit that last one, I said, 'Fly ball,' and the weight was off my shoulders."
The White Sox remained a half-game in front of Minnesota, which lost at New York, in the AL wild-card standings.
"I hope everybody doesn't go home thinking that they almost blew it," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "I certainly don't look at it that way as we're playing the world champions. We had some anxious moments there in the eighth and ninth. Against these guys, the world champs, you've going to have games like that."
Five of the Royals' runs in the fourth off Jose Contreras (11-7) were unearned thanks to three errors by the White Sox. Center fielder Rob Mackowiak threw wildly to third trying to get a runner, third baseman Crede overthrew first while fielding a bunt, and shortstop Alex Cintron bobbled a grounder.
"The three mistakes we made cost us six runs," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I'm not going to blame Jose. If you don't get help, you're not going to look good. I'm not going to blame my players. Players make errors. It seemed like we played one bad inning."
Teahen, who leads the Royals with 18 home runs, hit a two-run homer into the Royals' bullpen in right field with two out in the inning.
David DeJesus, who has hit safely in 10 of the past 11 games, also had a two-run double in the inning.
"It was a fastball in, and I recognized it," Teahen said. "I wasn't trying to jerk it out of the park."