Chicago The White Sox reversed a couple of bad trends and held off Kansas City to break an unlikely skid to the Royals.
Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko each homered to back Chris Sale’s six solid innings and lead Chicago to a 5-4 win over the Royals on Saturday.
Sale (16-6) scattered five hits and struck out six over six innings, winning his eighth straight decision at U.S. Cellular Field and helping Chicago end a six-game losing streak against Kansas City.
“They’ve been tough on us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s one of those where it’s good to get a win. You beat a good pitcher and get ready for tomorrow.”
Sale allowed six baserunners in the first three innings before settling down to retire the last 10 batters he faced.
Addison Reed finished up, extending his White Sox rookie record with his 26th save. He allowed a two-out double to Mike Moustakas on a muffed play by left fielder Jordan Danks. Brayan Pena and Johnny Giavotella stroked RBI singles, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second, but Lorenzo Cain struck out to end the game.
“That’s one of those he had to work a little harder than he should have,” Ventura said. “But just talking to him, he’s the one with the ball in his hands. Keep his confidence and keep going.”
Reed was loser in Friday’s game when he allowed two runs in the ninth.
“I was just focused on the next guy,” Reed said. “(Danks) lost it in the lights. It’s part of the game. I mean, I wasn’t mad or anything. I was just trying to get the next guy.”
Viciedo hit a solo homer in the first for the game’s first run. Flowers connected with a two-run shot in the fourth and Konerko had a solo blast in the sixth. All three homers came off Bruce Chen (10-12), who had won his last four starts in Chicago.
“(Chen) seems to always to be pretty effective against us,” Flowers said. “Locates, doesn’t make too many mistakes. I guess he made a few today.
“Beating Chen, it really doesn’t matter to us. We’re just glad to get the win out of this.”
Chicago also hit three homers in Friday’s 7-5 loss and has gone deep 28 times in its last 14 home games. Chen has allowed seven homers over his last two starts and 31 on the season, two shy of his career high.
“It’s been a rough week for our pitching staff, home run-wise,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I think we’ve given up 16 homers in the last week. That’s a lot of homers.”
Despite the loss, the Royals have dominated the season series against the first-place White Sox, winning nine of 14 meetings. The six straight wins against Chicago matched a Kansas City record first set in 1982.
Chicago had lost eight of 11 overall entering the game but still held a one-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central. The White Sox have had at least a share of the division lead since July 24.
Sale improved to 9-2 with a 1.72 ERA in 12 starts on his home field.
“It’s always nice pitching at home in front of your home crowd and being at home,” Sale said. “I don’t know. I couldn’t pinpoint anything exactly but it’s just kind of how it is.”
Flowers, who walked twice, is hitting .356 with five homers and 10 RBIs in his last 11 games after hitting .182 with two homers in his first 33.
“Obviously it’s easier for Robin to put me in there when I’ve got a good swing going and show some competitive at-bats,” Flowers said. “I feel the same, I was confident the first half too. Just hard to get in rhythm sometimes.”
Konerko hit his 22nd homer in the sixth, his first round-tripper since Aug. 21.
Notes: DH Adam Dunn missed his second straight game because of a strained right oblique. Dunn originally suffered the injury at Baltimore on Aug. 30, then reaggravated it on Wednesday. Ventura said Dunn will have to pass a series of tests by the team’s training staff before returning to action. ... 3B Kevin Youkilis missed his second straight game after returning home to be with his wife, who gave birth to a boy on Friday. Ventura said Youkilis may return to the team today. ... The White Sox are the only team in the majors with five players who have hit at least 20 homers, with Viciedo joining A.J. Pierzynski, Dunn, Alex Rios and Konerko ... Salvador Perez extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games with a single off Sale in the second.