Butler, Cabrera homer to lead Royals over ChiSox
CHICAGO – Bruce Chen continues to make life difficult for a former teammate.
Chen continued his mastery of the White Sox, and Billy Butler and Melky Cabrera homered to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 win over Chicago on Friday night.
Chen (7-5) held Chicago to one hit over six innings and is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts against the White Sox this season.
Chen, a teammate of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen during his first two big-league seasons in Atlanta, was the subject of some colorful comments after the lefty shut down Chicago earlier this season. Guillen wasn't as animated on Friday, but still wasn't pleased.
"Same old movie," Guillen said. "We made him work a little bit today, better than the last time we faced him. But to still go out of the game with one hit. I'm not going to take away any credit. This kid went out and pitched well against us."
Chen claimed that he feels no special motivation when facing the White Sox, even after Guillen told reporters on July 20, "To lose a (bleeping) game against Bruce Chen once again. That's more painful than this one. (Bleeping) pathetic."
"I just pitch my game," Chen said. "It's satisfaction that we stop a losing streak."
As for his dominance of the Chicago hitters this season, Chen said it's strictly a matter of concentration.
"I've pitched against them a lot," Chen said. "I've been learning what works and what doesn't work. They have a very good ballclub. When I come here, I'm very determined and very focused because they have a very good ballclub."
Butler homered in the sixth and had an RBI single in the first. Cabrera broke the game open with a three-run homer in the ninth.
"It was nice," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Melky got on a fastball. Had a chance to score more in the first, but we got one. ... It was nice to see Billy drive a ball to center field."
Alex Gordon singled, doubled, walked twice, scored a run, stole a base and reached on catcher's interference for the Royals, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
"(Chen) gave our offense a lot of opportunities and we capitalized for the most part," Butler said.
Rookie Zach Stewart (1-2) pitched well in his White Sox home debut, limiting the Royals to two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
"I'm getting used to it," Stewart said. "It's nice to be here and get to know the area and the clubhouse and everything. It was good to get that under my belt."
Stewart was coming off his first big league win, a victory at Minnesota on Aug. 6. With the White Sox contemplating returning to a standard five-man rotation, Stewart may be the odd man out.
"That first inning he got in a little bit of trouble but came out of it very well," Guillen said. "After that he was very effective, throwing strikes. Another good outing for this kid.
"We don't know yet (if Stewart will start again). I have to wait and see what happens. I don't mind giving him another start but I have to know how many days off somebody has."
Juan Pierre had an RBI single, driving in Chicago's only run in the ninth, and walked twice.
Chicago's Paul Konerko singled, extending his hitting streak to nine games, and walked twice. The White Sox had just three hits in the game but still managed to strand 10 runners.
"Bruce Chen has pitched good against us," Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski said. "He's done really good against us the last few times out. ... We had chances. We had bases loaded two times early in the game, with a chance to score some runs and push some pressure on them. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out."
The White Sox have lost seven straight at U.S. Cellular Field and 13 of their last 17. Chicago fell five games behind Detroit in the AL Central.
Butler's two hits came on the heels of his 1-for-15 series at Tampa Bay. Butler has hit eight of his 14 home runs in the month since the All-Star break.
"That was good," Butler said. "Got a pitch out over the plate and didn't miss it. Squared it good and it got up."
Chen walked three batters and hit two more combined in the first three innings.
Alex Rios ended both the first and third by flying out with the bases loaded. Rios, who entered the game hitting .170 in 94 at-bats with runners in scoring position, was loudly booed after each plate appearance.
"We were one hit away from getting something going," Guillen said. "Alex was the hitter and he couldn't get it done."
After the White Sox were unable to take advantage of Chen's early wildness, he recovered to retire the last seven batters he faced and 10 of the final 11.
Brent Morel was the only baserunner in that stretch, reaching on a double error in the fourth. Chen appeared to have struck out Morel with an 0-2 pitch was called for a quick pitch, an automatic ball.
"When Bruce is on his game, he pitches good against just about everybody," Yost said. "Bruce has been the winningest pitcher we've had here the last two years. It's because he's crafty, he doesn't give in, he changes speeds, keeps the ball down."
NOTES: Jake Peavy will start for Chicago on Saturday against Kansas City's Luke Hochevar. Hochevar is 4-0 over his last eight starts, with the Royals going 7-1 in those games. Peavy has dropped four of his last five decisions. ... White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski had to leave the game after being hit on the left wrist by a pitch in the third. X-rays on the injury were negative and he's listed as day-to-day. ... Chicago's Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch in the first inning. It was the 23rd hit by pitch for Quentin this season, tying a White Sox record set by Minnie Minoso in 1956.