Guthrie shuts down White Sox; Gordon homers
Right-hander strikes out eight over six innings; outfielder hits go-ahead blast
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Over 29 2/3 innings Jeremy Guthrie threw against the White Sox during the 2012 season, the Royals right-hander allowed just 21 hits, two walks and one earned run.
So, when the White Sox put the first three runners on base in Sunday's 8-2 Royals victory at Camelback Ranch, it was a victory in itself for the South Siders. Alejandro De Aza was hit by a pitch, Gordon Beckham singled and Jeff Keppinger's infield single off that bounced off the third-base bag scored the game's first run.
Guthrie proceeded to strike out Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo to end the rally. The game was tied through four innings, until the Royals erupted for four runs in the fifth against reliever David Purcey.
Alex Gordon hit a two-run, opposite-field homer to give the Royals the lead, and Jeff Francoeur followed with a two-run double. Purcey yielded five runs over one-plus innings on four hits and two walks.
"We're playing pretty good baseball right now. We're swinging the bats," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Started out a little bit slower, but we always pick up some steam when we need it."
The White Sox moved Dylan Axelrod, their scheduled starter for Sunday, to an earlier Minor League game so as to avoid having the right-hander face an opponent from the American League Central. Erik Johnson, a promising right-hander who was in camp earlier with the White Sox, got the start and gave up just one run on two hits over four innings while striking out three.
Alejandro De Aza touched up Guthrie for a solo home run in the fifth. The leadoff hitter's shot came after Trayce Thompson was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. Otherwise, Guthrie showed his usual dominance over the White Sox with eight strikeouts and no walks over six innings.
Up next: Zack Greinke will be on familiar turf when he returns to Cactus League action for the Dodgers on Monday night. He'll face the Royals at 8:05 p.m. CT at Surprise Stadium, where he used to train with the Kansas City club. Greinke hasn't pitched in a Cactus game since March 1 because of elbow tenderness and the flu. No. 4 starter Wade Davis will start for the Royals followed by Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, J.C. Gutierrez and Dan Wheeler. Greinke isn't the only ex-Royal scheduled to pitch; J.P. Howell is also on the Dodgers' list.