White Sox 5, Royals 2: Help accepted

The last time the White Sox and Royals met for a three-game series, the Sox took the opener with a walk-off balk.

They followed the same gameplan tonight, using an uncharacteristic error by Alcides Escobar in order to score the go-ahead runs to beat Kyle Davies. They shouldn't have needed the help, but Davies struck out a career-high nine over 5 2/3 innings, so there you have it.

The Royals tied the game at 2 heading into the sixth after Mark Buehrle-killers Melky Cabrera (RBI single) and Billy Butler (RBI double) killed Mark Buehrle. With one out and A.J. Pierzynski on first, Gordon Beckham hit a bouncer to Escobar's right. He gloved it and planted his feet, but his throw to second base was well wide, and it rolled into foul territory along the right-field line.

Instead of an inning-ending 6-4-3, the Sox had second and third and one out. Southern playwright Everett Teaford got Mark Teahen to hit a weak chopper to first, but it was too weak. Pierzynski was off on contact, and Eric Hosmer didn't even bother throwing. That gave the Sox a 3-2 lead, and Juan Pierre rolled a single through the middle to make the second unearned run score.

The Sox even benefited from help on their third run. Brent Lillibridge appeared to be thrown out by Brayan Pena on his stolen-base attempt in the eighth, but Jerry Meals ruled him safe. A wild pitch moved him to third, and he scored on a Beckham groundout to give the Sox a three-run cushion.

While it was still save-opportunity territory, Ozzie Guillen bypassed the opportunity to let Matt Thornton earn the save after retiring the first two hitters in the ninth. He came out to the mound and pulled him in favor of Sergio Santos -- in order to get both work, I presume -- and the save was off the board. Santos struck out Mike Moustakas.

The collective effort by everybody -- offense, defense, Royals, umpires -- helped Buehrle earn his seventh win of the season, and his first since June 9. He allowed just seven baserunners over his seven innings (five hits, a walk and he hit a batter), and when the Royals threatened, he shut the door. Cabrera's single in the fifth was Kansas City's lone hit with runners in scoring position in seven at-bats.

Davies was almost as good, and that's the sad thing.

Pierre put the offense on track when he started the game with a triple, and then came home on Alexei Ramirez's sac fly. Davies came back to strike out the side in the second, but the Sox appeared to brush it off when Paul Konerko hit a drive to the gap on 3-2 that allowed Ramirez to score from first, even though the ball was cut off. But until the error knocked him out of the game, Davies had the Sox's number. In fact, the Sox were even worse with runners in scoring position, going just 1-for-8 on the evening.

Alas, Davies was still tagged with the loss.  He's now 1-9 on the season.

Notes:

*A.J. Pierzynski reached on a walk, intentional walk and HBP (which also might've been intentional, based on the walk-off balk thing).

*Alex Rios and Adam Dunn combined to go 0-for-7 with four strikeouts and a walk. Paction!

Record:47-49 | Box score | Play-by-play

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