It looked like the Chicago White Sox would break out of their mini-hitting slump on Wednesday night as Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie entered the game with a 7.71 ERA and an 0-3 record since he came to the Royals in a trade with Colorado.
But with two of its top hitters, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios, out the White Sox just didn't have enough firepower to contend.
Guthrie picked up his first victory since late May, scattering five hits over eight innings in Kansas City's 2-1 win over Chicago.
Guthrie (1-3) got his first win with the Royals and improved to 4-12 overall since arriving in the trade. He struck out five and walked none.
His last victory was an 11-5 decision over Houston on May 31. He struggled through nine losses in his next 13 appearances.
"It didn't seem like we could get anything going," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Solo home runs by Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez provided all the runs for Kansas City.
Greg Holland gave up a run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth but picked up his third save.
Jose Quintana (4-2) worked seven innings and gave up five hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Kansas City took two of three in the series. Chicago had won its last four series and five straight at home.
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the second on Moustakas' 17th home run of the season. With two outs, the third baseman lined Quintana's first pitch deep in to the seats in right.
Perez made it 2-0 with a two-out homer to right on a 2-0 pitch from Quintana. The home run was his sixth of the season.
Chicago had a runner in scoring position in the third when Alejandro De Aza singled with two outs and reached second on an errant pickoff throw from Perez to first baseman Eric Hosmer. But Gordon Beckham ended the inning with a fly to right.
The Royals tried to pad the lead in the sixth with runners on first and second with two outs, but Perez' flied out to center to end the threat.
Guthrie had retired nine straight into the sixth inning when Beckham lined a two-out double down the left field line. Guthrie closed the inning by striking out Adam Dunn looking.
"That arguably could be the best-pitched game we had all year," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was in total control ... locating his pitches down, changing speeds, great command of the strike zone (and) never really got into any spots where they really threatened."
The left-handed Quintana had four straight no-decisions entering Wednesday. He last won on July 5, a 2-1 victory over Texas where he surrendered one earned run while striking out eight and walking just one.
"Right now I'm not getting much run support, but that will change," Quintana said through a translator.
"He (Quintana) threw the ball really well," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He deserved a better fate. But, we only scored one run. That's not going to get it done in this park."
White Sox reliever Jesse Crain worked the eighth while Brett Myers pitched a scoreless ninth. In the ninth, Holland gave up a one-out single to Dunn, who scored on Pierzynski's two-out grounder up the middle.
Yost said he was hoping for continued improvement from Guthrie, winless in his first three starts with a 7.71 ERA since arriving in the trade with the Rockies.
"We knew that when we made the trade that it would take him probably four or five starts to get straightened out," Yost said. "His first start was OK. He was a little better his second start. He was better his third start."
Konerko sat out Wednesday with a mild concussion suffered Tuesday night on a play at first base, while Rios had some soreness in his back. Both will get two days off.
"It's just nagging stuff that's been happening, we've got an off day (Thursday) so it would be two days (off)," Ventura said. "Paul's been going a long time without any time off."
Ventura said he toyed with a lineup without Konerko, Rios, De Aza and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
"We actually had a lineup without those guys in it," he said. "It was creative, it was a fun morning."
De Aza missed three games with back stiffness while Youkilis was out of Tuesday's game with a sore right knee. Both were in Wednesday's starting lineup.
NOTES: Dunn remained short of two career milestones. He went 1-for-4 and at 997 career RBIS and 396 homers for his 12-year career. ... Royals DH Billy Butler's 22nd home run on Tuesday is a career-best. "He can drive the ball to all fields," Yost said. "He hits all types of pitching. There are not a lot of hitters that can hit good pitching like he can hit." ... Light rainfall washed out batting practice but Wednesday's first pitch went on as scheduled at 7:10 p.m. ... The Royals head to Baltimore to open a scheduled four-game series and weren't scheduled to arrive until around 2:30 a.m. The game is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ... Chicago's homestand continues with Friday's opener of a three-game series against Oakland. ... The White Sox and Cardinals are the only teams in the majors with five players with 15 or more home runs.