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White Sox win seventh straight, sweep Royals

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Buehrle finally gave up a run in an
otherwise dominant outing.

Buehrle stretched his winning streak to a career-high eight
games, and the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to
seven with a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

The White Sox enter this weekend's series with the crosstown
rival Cubs at 49-22, the best record in the majors.

"It almost feels like I can go out there and dominate a game,"
Buehrle said.

Which is exactly what he did.

Buehrle (9-1) allowed five hits, his scoreless streak ending at
25 1/3 innings when the Royals scored an unearned run in the
eighth. He walked one and struck out six in eight innings, and Carl
Everett backed him with a three-run homer.

"I'm not saying it's easy," Buehrle said. "I'm going out and
having some good luck, making my pitches."

Buehrle is making a strong case to start the All-Star Game, as
is teammate Jon Garland, who leads the majors with 12 wins. Manager
Ozzie Guillen hopes neither starts, but he wants them to be
selected.

"I know the All-Star Game means a lot to the players," said
Guillen, a three-time selection. "It's an honor for any player to
represent and make the team, but ... as a manager, you don't want
him to be used."

Everett had two hits, and two of Paul Konerko's three hits were
doubles.

J.P. Howell (1-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in his third
major league start for the Royals, who were swept in the three-game
series. Emil Brown extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10
games with a single in the fourth.

Buehrle's last loss was April 10, and he got off to another
strong start Wednesday, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters. The
White Sox scored twice with two outs in the third, and Everett hit
his 10th homer to make it 5-0 with two outs in the fifth.

Both rallies started after Howell retired the first two batters.

In the third, Pablo Ozuna walked, and Tadahito Iguchi and Frank
Thomas doubled. In the fifth, Thomas walked and went to third on
Konerko's double, which led to Everett's homer.

"We talk about speed, (but) all of a sudden I look at the field
and it's Frank, Konerko and Carl Everett hitting," Guillen said.
"I said, 'Oh, there's no speed at all."

All they had to do was jog after Everett turned on a 2-2
fastball.

"He's a fastball hitter, and I went in with a fastball,"
Howell said. "I should've thrown anything but that pitch there."

Those five runs were plenty for Buehrle.

He has pitched at least six innings in 43 consecutive starts,
the longest such streak in the majors in almost six years. Curt
Schilling lasted six innings in 43 straight starts for Philadelphia
from June 2, 1998 to July 18, 1999.

"It just means I'm going out there and giving the team a good
chance to win," Buehrle said. "I'm not getting knocked around too
much the first two, three innings."

The scoreless streak ended after Mark Teahen singled to right
and advanced to second on an error by Jermaine Dye leading off the
eighth. Teahen scored on a pair of groundouts.

"It would have been nice to keep it going, but [I'll] start
another one," Buehrle said.

The White Sox swept Kansas City for the third time this season.
Next, they face their intracity rival, the Cubs.

"We look at it as another team," Dye said.

Game notes
The White Sox's seven-game winning streak is one shy of
their season high. ... Everett has 15 RBI over his last 11 games.
... Royals reliever Mike Wood, who allowed one hit and one walk,
has not allowed a run in five of his last six appearances. ... The
Royals are hitting .192 against the White Sox in nine games this
season.