Royals relievers fumble shot at beating White Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After the Chicago White Sox committed four errors and had only two singles in the first seven innings Sunday, manager Ozzie Guillen knew what he was going to tell the media after the game.

"I was preparing my speech in the eighth inning," Guillen said. "It was poor pitching, poor defense and real bad offense."

Guillen can save that speech for another day, as the White Sox rallied with a two-run eighth to beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3
for their seventh straight victory and 15th in 19 games.

Pinch-hitter Pablo Ozuna doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth as the White Sox put together four hits off three Kansas City relievers.

"It was real ugly, but we got it done," Guillen said. "Everything we did worked out for us."

Royals starter Denny Bautista had limited the White Sox to two runs and two hits over seven innings, leaving with a 3-2 lead.

"Denny threw the ball well for seven innings," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "Everybody felt he did his job. He was elevating the ball in the seventh and we had guys fresh in the bullpen."

Willie Harris started the eighth with a one-out single off Jaime Cerda and stopped at second when Paul Konerko singled off Shawn Camp (0-2) to snap an 0-for-10 skid.

Aaron Rowand's two-out single off rookie left-hander Andy Sisco tied the score before Ozuna's double to right.

"If we can stay close, we've got a lot of guys who can step up," said Rowand, who drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning Saturday.

Neal Cotts (1-0), the third of five White Sox pitchers, earned the win. Shingo Takatsu picked up his sixth save in seven opportunities with a perfect ninth.

"We've got a good group down there," Cotts said of the bullpen. "It's more of a veteran group, in terms of age and experience. Nobody wants to be the guy that doesn't get the job done. I think we feed off everybody in the bullpen."

The Royals led 3-2 after Matt Stairs homered leading off the seventh inning. They have lost five straight -- four by one run -- and 11 of 13.

"It wears on you," Sisco said. "It's tough to stay upbeat in the clubhouse, but we're right there. We've had one-run games in four of the last five. We just as easily today could be talking about a big win."

Bautista opened the game by walking Scott Podsednik and Harris on 10 pitches. Both runners eventually scored, but Bautista allowed just one more hit after the first. He struck out four and walked four before departing after seven innings.

"In the first inning, I tried to do too much and that's why I got in trouble," Bautista said. "After that I got command of my fastball and slider and I don't think about the first inning."

The Royals stranded nine runners in the first five innings, including two at third base and four at second. They went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the first five innings.

"It seems we can't get a big hit at the right time," Pena said.

Joe McEwing led off the Royals' fifth with a double and advanced to third when right fielder Timo Perez had trouble picking up the ball. Ruben Gotay's single scored McEwing. Stairs and Terrence Long
walked to load the bases and Gotay scored the tying run when second baseman Harris fumbled Angel Berroa's grounder for one of four White Sox errors.

White Sox starter Orlando Hernandez left after five innings and 111 pitches, allowing two runs -- one earned -- and four hits. He walked six and struck out five.

"Six walks is no good," Hernandez said. "I'm happy the team won, but I'm not happy with my outing. This is not good."
Game notes
White Sox third baseman Joe Crede went 0-for-4, snapping his career-high 14-game hitting streak, which matched the longest in
the majors. ... The White Sox, who committed four errors in a game for the first time since May 26, 2003, at Toronto, entered the game second in the American League in fielding with just 10 errors. ...The Royals' bullpen is 2-6 with one save in three opportunities.