Betancourt’s grand slam propels Royals, 6-5
Kansas City, Mo. ? Ned Yost is not only a manager, but a prophet.
Yuniesky Betancourt hit a grand slam in the seventh inning, then delivered a two-out single in the 11th that gave the Kansas City Royals a 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday night. The second game of the doubleheader ran past the Journal-World’s press time.
With a runner on second in the 11th and Willie Bloomquist at the plate, Yost turned to Royals bench coach John Gibbons and made a prediction.
“I just told Gibby when Willie was up there if we can find some way to get Yuney up to the plate this inning, I think something good will happen,” Yost said. “Sure enough, I was a fortune teller. He’s hot as a fire cracker.”
Betancourt’s third grand slam of the season tied a Royals record set by Danny Tartabull in 1988. Betancourt and Alex Rodriguez are the only major leaguers with three slams this season.
Wilson Betemit drew a leadoff walk from rookie Chris Sale (0-1) in the 11th, moved up on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice and stopped at third on Mike Aviles’ two-out single. Betancourt’s single to center won it.
“He’s has been carrying us the past couple of weeks,” catcher Jason Kendall said.
Jesse Chavez (2-1), the fourth Kansas City pitcher, worked two scoreless innings to earn the victory.
White Sox starter Freddy Garcia held the Royals to four hits and one run — Betemit’s leadoff homer in the fifth — through six innings.
In the seventh, Garcia walked Billy Butler and gave up two-out singles to Willie Bloomquist and Aviles. Sergio Santos relieved Garcia and gave up Betancourt’s grand slam on his second pitch.
“Our bullpen doesn’t like Freddy,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s been pitching well the last couple of outings, and we blow the game for him. It seems like the like couple of weeks we’ve been losing the game late.”
The White Sox threatened in the 10th, but pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Carlos Quentin’s double.
“Kendall made a great play on that ball,” Yost said. “It short-hopped, he picked it and made the play. It was as good as you’ll see.”
Royals right-hander Phil Humber, making his first big-league start since Sept. 26, 2007, with the New York Mets, allowed five runs on nine hits, while striking out six in 52?3 innings.
Humber had not pitched since a relief appearance on Aug. 10. He was primarily a starter this season with Triple-A Omaha.
Juan Pierre, who leads the majors with 49 stolen bases, led off the White Sox third with an infield single, swiped second and scored on Omar Vizquel’s single. The White Sox made it 2-1 in the fifth when Pierre’s single scored A.J. Pierzynski.
The White Sox upped their lead to 5-1 in the sixth with Gordon Beckham driving in two runs with a two-out single.
Notes: Royals RHP Luke Hochevar, on the disabled list due to an elbow strain, threw 25 pitches in batting practice Saturday. He is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Aug. 28. … Royals RHP Brian Bannister is scheduled to throw two innings, a 25-pitch limit, on Monday for Triple-A Omaha. Bannister is on the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis. … RHP Gil Meche, on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury, threw a scoreless inning to begin a rehab assignment with Omaha. … Guillen opted against bringing back RHP Edwin Jackson, who threw seven pitches Friday before the game was rained out, to start the second game of the doubleheader.