Kansas City, MO – Eric Hosmer ripped a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
With the game locked at 3-3 in the ninth, Billy Butler smacked a leadoff single and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson.
Jesse Crain (2-3) retired the next two hitters before Dyson stole second and Jeff Francoeur was intentionally walked.
Matt Thornton then entered from the bullpen and Hosmer scorched the left- hander's third offering down the third-base line to score Dyson, as the Royals took two-of-three from the White Sox in this series.
"I was just trying to shorten up and put the ball in play right there and let Dyson's legs do the rest," Hosmer said.
Greg Holland (7-4) earned the victory after tossing a scoreless top of the ninth.
Johnny Giavotella added a two-run triple for the Royals, who have nine of their last 11 games against the White Sox.
A.J. Pierzynski and Dewayne Wise each knocked in a run in the setback, as Chicago maintained its two-game lead over Detroit atop the AL Central after the Tigers fell to Oakland earlier on Thursday.
"We just need to win ball games," Thornton remarked. "We have a two-game lead in the division with 13 games to go, so we've got to go out and win as many as we can to stay on top."
The White Sox struck in their first at-bat as Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn smacked singles around a Wise strikeout. Alex Rios' groundout put runners on the corners and Pierzynski plated De Aza with a single into left for a 1-0 edge.
Chicago tacked on two runs in the second after Dan Johnson walked and Alexei Ramirez singled to start the frame. Gordon Beckham then bunted, but Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie bobbled the ball and fired wide of first, allowing Johnson to score.
Ramirez scored two batters later on Wise's groundout for a three-run margin.
The Royals battled back in the fifth when Mike Moustakas smacked a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Francoeur then walked before Giavotella's triple into the gap in left-center field scored Moustakas and Francoeur to bring the Royals within 3-2.
Kansas City tied the game in its next at-bat as Alex Gordon hit a one-out single to chase Chicago starter Francisco Liriano from the contest. Butler then launched a double off the wall in straightaway center field to plate Gordon and tie the game at 3-3.
Guthrie allowed three runs -- one earned -- on eight hits with four strikeouts over six frames ... Liriano surrendered three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings ... The White Sox fell to 11-32 when going homerless.