KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Excellent starting pitching is the biggest reason behind a big start for the Chicago White Sox.
Freddy Garcia threw seven strong innings, Juan Uribe had three hits and the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-2 on Friday night to stretch their winning streak to five games.Chicago's 13-4 record matches the best start in team history set in 1912, 1919 and 1935. The White Sox are 7-2 on the road, their best road start since the 1982 club also went 7-2."I have confidence because of my pitching staff we're always going to be in the game," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't think we're going to have a seven-game losing streak because we have five guys who are going to give you a good game."I feel proud about our start. The White Sox have been around for 100-something years and to be compared with those teams feels good by itself," he said.Chicago's starters -- Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland,
Orlando Hernandez and Garcia -- are 10-3 with an AL-leading 2.88 ERA. They also top the league with 12 quality starts and 115 1/3 innings."It's not a surprise for me because I know what we can do," Garcia said. "We know what we can do. We know how to pitch. We like to throw a lot of innings and try to keep guys in the game."Garcia (2-1) retired 12 in a row from the third inning until the seventh, when Matt Stairs led off with a single. Garcia allowed two runs and four hits, struck out three and walked none. He has worked at least six innings in all four of his starts."I threw a lot of strikes," Garcia said. "I had pretty good location. It was better than last time. I threw more fastballs and moved my fastball in and out."Royals right-hander Runelvys Hernandez did not throw many strikes. He was wild, walking six, which matched his career high, and hitting a batter with a pitch. Hernandez (1-3) gave up five runs, four earned, and six hits in six innings. He threw only 55 strikes in 102 pitches."He had a real tough time battling the weather," Royals manager Tony Pena said, referring to the 50-degree temperatures and wind blowing 25 mph. "That's why we didn't see his command. He tried to keep himself warm and get himself going, but he couldn't grip the fastball and ended up throwing a lot of breaking balls."Hernandez, who missed last season because of elbow surgery, was not pleased with his performance."Runelvys Hernandez is better than that," he said. "I'm very disappointed. I can throw seven, eight innings and not give any walks, but today six walks. That was unbelievable. That is hard. I was expecting a better performance."The weather was affecting me a little bit on my grip. The wind moved my two-seamer. I couldn't throw my breaking ball for strikes. You never know what is going happen with the weather," he said.Joe Crede also had three hits and scored three times for Chicago, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games -- the longest active streak in the majors. Crede, who is from
Westphalia, Mo., had his own cheering section."My family and friends don't get a chance to see me play in person very much, so it's nice to play well in front of them," he said.The White Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second when Uribe doubled to right-center to score A.J. Pierzynski, who singled. Uribe advanced to third when center fielder David DeJesus had trouble picking up the ball for an error. Uribe scored on Tadahito Iguchi's infield single.The White Sox have led in all 17 games, a franchise record to start the season. The 1901 White Sox led in their first 16 games.The Royals trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the third when Ruben Gotay's sacrifice fly scored Emil Brown, who led off with a single and stopped at third on Tony Graffanino's single.The White Sox got that run back in the fourth when Hernandez hit Crede with a pitch, gave up a single to Uribe and walked two, including Iguchi with the bases loaded.Crede led off the sixth with a single and scored on a wild pitch. Scott Podsednik, who had two singles and walked three times, scored the second run of the inning on Carl Everett's grounder to give the White Sox a 5-1 advantage.The White Sox padded their lead with two more runs in the seventh, which included Pierzynski's RBI double. Uribe's sacrifice fly scored Pierzynski.Stairs scored on Terrence Long's grounder in the seventh for the other run off Garcia.
Podsednik stole three bases to up his total to nine in 10 attempts. He is tied for the AL lead. ... The Royals are 2-9 in their past 11 games. ... The Royals optioned DH-first baseman Calvin Pickering, who was hitting .148, to Triple-A Omaha and purchased the contract of outfielder Matt Diaz, who was hitting .373 with Omaha. Diaz flied out to right as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.