KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mitch Maier lined a two-run single in Kansas City's five-run seventh inning against Mark Buehrle, and the Royals made Ned Yost's managerial debut a rousing success with a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox Friday night.
The Royals looked like a new team, at least for one night, after Yost replaced Trey Hillman, getting good starting pitching, clutch hitting and a solid effort by the bullpen.
Yuniesky Betancourt homered and saved a run with a highlight-reel snag at shortstop, Gil Meche pitched six solid innings and Kansas City roughed up Buehrle (2-5) in the seventh to give Dusty Hughes (1-1) his first win in the majors.
The Royals fired Hillman Thursday night after two mediocre seasons and a 12-23 start this year. He was replaced by Yost, who got his new gig started by shuffling the coaching staff and making minor tweaks to the lineup.
Everything else was essentially the same.
Well, almost everything.
Jose Guillen broke out of an 0-for-22 slump with two hits and an RBI. The bullpen held for once, with Hughes allowing a hit in one inning and Blake Wood pitching the final two scoreless innings.
Meche was good, too, finding the control that had been missing — 25 walks in 31 2-3 innings — in his winless start to the season.
The White Sox scored a run off the right-hander in the fifth inning, playing small ball to set up A.J. Pierzynski's flaring RBI single to left for the game's first run.
The Royals helped Meche out with some nifty defense the next inning: Maier on a running catch against the wall on Paul Konerko's long drive to center and Betancourt on a range-and-whirl snag of Mark Teahen's grounder up the middle with a runner on third and two outs.
Meche was replaced by Hughes to start the seventh after allowing one run on four hits.
Buehrle was just as good, for a while.
Working quickly and throwing strikes, the left-hander didn't allow a baserunner until Guillen flared a single to right with one out in the fifth.
Then Buehrle's night came apart.
Betancourt started it in the sixth inning, hitting the first pitch he saw out to left for a solo homer that tied it at 1-all.
Guillen hurt Buehrle again in the seventh by fisting a run-scoring single into center, then Maier got Kansas City's fifth straight hit, a two-run single that chased Buehrle.
Jason Kendall added a run-scoring single off Tony Pena and another run came in on Teahen's fielding error to cap an inning that included 11 Kansas City hitters and four White Sox pitchers.
Buehrle allowed six runs — five earned — on eight hits in six innings.
Notes: White Sox RF Carlos Quentin was scratched from the lineup due to a stomach virus. Mark Kotsay played in his spot after manager Ozzie Guillen held Andruw Jones out with a stiff neck. ... Royals RHP Josh Rupe accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha and will report to the team on Saturday. ... Teahen was 0 for 4 in his first trip back to Kauffman Stadium since being traded in the offseason.