Published September 19, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Luke Hochevar made three big mistakes Tuesday night, and it was too much for the Kansas City Royals to overcome.
Hochevar pitched seven solid innings, but surrendered three homers in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Alejandro De Aza drove Hochevar's second pitch over the wall in right for his eighth homer of the season. De Aza had been slumping, hitless in his previous nine at-bats and 2 for 21 in his previous five games.
Hochevar (8-14), who is 1-5 in his last nine starts, allowed just one single the next four innings before Beckham led off the sixth with his 16th home run. Beckham is hitting .333 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his past 17 games.
"I was trying to go belt in on De Aza and he put a good swing on it," Hochevar said. "Beckham, it was supposed to be a fastball down and in. It came back across the plate a little."
Alex Rios hit a tiebreaking drive in the seventh for his 24th homer, matching his career high set in 2007 with Toronto. Rios' shot to left came on a 3-0 pitch.
"A lot of those guys, big home run guys get the green light and I thought he might," Hochevar said. "I tried to step on the gas a little and the ball came up. I left it up and he whacked it. I didn't have really good fastball command. I knew my curveball was going to be big. I knew I had to use it and keep changing speeds."
Hochevar has allowed eight homers in his last five starts and 26 overall this season. He yielded consecutive one-out singles following Rios' drive, but allowed no further damage.
"Anytime you can pitch through seven innings and just give up three runs, that's a pretty good ballgame," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I was pleased, after the long home run by Rios and then giving up the next two baserunners, he stopped them right there. If we were going to have a chance he had to stop them right there and he did. He did a good job."
The White Sox maintained a three-game advantage over Detroit and improved to 6-10 against the Royals. Chicago had lost seven of eight against Kansas City.
Gavin Floyd (10-10), who was making his second start since coming off the disabled following an elbow flexor strain, gave up two runs in the first inning and nothing after that. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three, throwing 52 strikes in 78 pitches.
Floyd reached double-figures in victories for the fifth consecutive season.
Kansas City got off to a fast start when Billy Butler hit a two-run single in the first inning to give him a career-high 97 RBIs.
"He (Floyd) came back off the DL the last start and he was throwing hard," Butler said. "His slider was 86-88. We hadn't seen that from him. It broke late and came out of his hand well. We hadn't seen that from him before."
The Royals did not have a baserunner after Jeff Francoeur's fourth-inning double.
Matt Thornton retired all four batters he faced. Addison Reed got the final two outs for his 28th save in 32 chances.
NOTES: Royals RHP Luis Mendoza has strep throat and will miss his scheduled Wednesday start against the White Sox. LHP Bruce Chen will be moved up a day, while RHP Jeremy Guthrie will start Thursday. ... The White Sox announced LHP Francisco Liriano will start the Thursday series finale against the Royals. ... Royals LF Alex Gordon threw out A.J. Pierzynski trying to stretch a single into a double in the fifth inning. Kansas City leads the majors with 44 outfield assists.