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Gordon lifts Royals to win over White Sox

Jul 21, 2011 - 4:15 AM Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Alex Gordon made a spectacular catch to save runs in the sixth inning and then scored on a Sergio Santos wild pitch in the 11th, giving Kansas City a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Gordon, who scored the tying run in the eighth, walked with two outs in the 11th before Mitch Maier singled up the middle to put runners at the corners. Santos then relieved Chris Sale (2-1), but his 2-1 offering to Billy Butler was low in the dirt. Butler fanned as the ball caromed away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Santos was late covering the plate, allowing Gordon to slide in head-first to end the game.

"I knew they were going to pitch Billy tough, splitters and sliders," Gordon said. "I told him (3rd base coach Eddie Rodriguez), 'If I get anything close to a wild pitch, I'm going.' Once I saw it get away from Pierzynski, I was off."

John Danks, who was on the disabled list and hadn't pitched since June 25 because of a strained right oblique, fanned six batters over seven shutout innings for Chicago. The only run for the White Sox came on Carlos Quentin's homer in the fifth inning.

Kansas City starter Bruce Chen yielded four hits and fanned four over eight innings in the rubber match of this three-game set.

The White Sox leave Kauffman Stadium 4 1/2 games behind Detroit and Cleveland for first place in the AL Central. They'll be on the road to face the Indians this weekend and will host the Tigers in a three-game set next week.

"One day we're good. Three days, we're bad," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said among his profanity-laced postgame comments. "We have no energy in the dugout. A (expletive) approach at the plate. If we go to Cleveland the way we go there? Good luck."

Danks agreed that the Sox haven't been playing up to their potential.

"We haven't played to expectations. I think we've played well enough to hang around, but at the end of the day that doesn't do you a whole lot of good," Danks said. "We're in a position to make a run. We're still in it, but there's only so much longer we can say that. We have to get on a roll."

The sixth inning was a huge turning point defensively for the Royals, who struggled all night with men in base, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Brent Morel singled with one out and Juan Pierre bunted for a hit. After Alexei Ramirez flied out to center, Paul Konerko sent a fly tight to the line in left. Gordon went sliding across the chalk and came up with the ball just before making contact with the side wall.

Kansas City wasted a chance with two men on in the bottom of the sixth, but the Royals had another fielding gem in the eighth that kept them in the game. With men at first and second, Pierre hit a liner to Eric Hosmer at first base. His throw to second caught Omar Vizquel off the base for the inning-ending double play.

Gordon singled to right leading off the KC eighth against Matt Thornton. Jesse Crain entered from the bullpen with one out, but surrendered a base hit to Butler, putting runners at the corners. Jeff Francoeur promptly lined a ball into right-center field and hustled in for a double when Gordon Beckham dropped a flip from Vizquel at shortstop.

Hosmer was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Brayan Pena struck out. Sale was called upon to face Mike Moustakas, who grounded out with the pitcher covering first to keep the game tied.

The Royals had a golden opportunity to win the game in the 10th inning, but couldn't get home Francoeur from third with one out.

Aaron Crow (3-2) pitched two innings to get the win.

The Royals left two men on base in the third when Melky Cabrera grounded out, but they caught a break in the field in the fourth. Ramirez walked with one out and then Konerko hit a grounder to third, which turned into a double play. Replays showed the throw from Moustakas pulled Chris Getz off second base and he never touched the bag with the ball in possession, but second base umpire CB Bucknor still made the out call there.

Quentin finally got Chicago's first hit of the night, as he took Chen's second pitch of the fifth inning over the wall in left field.

Game Notes

The Royals parted ways with Wilson Betemit on Wednesday, dealing the infielder to the Detroit Tigers for a pair of minor league players. In return, the Royals picked up two young prospects in 19-year-old pitcher Antonio Cruz and 20-year-old catcher Julio Rodriguez...Pierre has a 12-game hitting streak...The White Sox placed RHP Tony Pena (right elbow tendinitis) on his second rehab assignment to Charlotte...Guillen was hit in the cheek by a foul ball in the eighth inning.