Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – Juan Pierre drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the top of the 10th inning, as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals, 7-6, to split a doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium.
In the first game of the twinbill, Yuniesky Betancourt tied the game in the seventh with a grand slam and won the game in the 11th with a run-scoring single, as the Kansas City Royals rallied past the Chicago White Sox, 6-5.
Betancourt finished a triple shy of the cycle and became just the second Kansas City player to hit three grand slams in a season. Danny Tartabull accomplished the feat in 1988.
Ramon Castro hit a two-run homer to help the White Sox take the second part of the doubleheader, which ended after 1 a.m. local time. Chicago, which had lost nine of its last 12 games, is four games behind the Twins in the AL Central standings. Minnesota lost to the Angels earlier Saturday.
Tony Pena made his first major league start after scheduled starter Edwin Jackson was a late scratch. Jackson threw seven pitches on Friday night before the game was rained out. Pena, making his 286th career appearance, gave up four runs on five hits over seven frames. J.J. Putz (6-5) got the win despite giving up a run on two hits over two innings of relief.
“They always play us tough, especially here,” Pierre said. “To squeeze out a win looms big because everybody knows the significance of the division.”
Gregor Blanco hit a solo homer for the Royals, who had won four of five. Billy Butler drove in two runs and scored a run, while Betancourt tied the game in the ninth with an RBI single.
Bryan Bullington, coming off his first major league win, allowed six runs on 11 hits over five-plus innings. Greg Holland (0-1) gave up one run on three hits over two frames of relief to take the loss.
“Those kids fought their tails off right to the very end,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was an extremely long day, but they never let up for a second right up to the final out, so I was real proud of them.”
Blanco’s blast to right off Scott Linebrink in the eighth cut the gap to 6-5. Kansas City then tied the game in the ninth. Putz gave up a two-out triple to Mitch Maier, who scored on Betancourt’s base hit up the middle. Chris Getz flied out to send the contest into extras.
Holland, who tossed a scoreless ninth, stayed on to pitch the top of the 10th. Gordon Beckham singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and raced home on Pierre’s broken-bat double down the right-field line.
Putz pitched a perfect home 10th to seal the victory.
The White Sox scored a pair of runs in the first. Alexei Ramirez hit a one-out double and crossed the plate on Alex Rios’ base hit up the middle. Paul Konerko’s single put runners on the corners for Mark Kotsay, who plated a run when he grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Chicago added another run in the top of the fourth to make it 3-0. Mark Teahen, Castro, and Pierre each singled to load the bases with one out. Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly before Rios struck out to end the inning.
Kansas City finally got to Pena in the bottom of the fourth. Pena, who retired the first nine batters he faced, gave up consecutive singles to Blanco and Willie Bloomquist. Wilson Betemit knocked in Blanco with a double. Butler followed with a two-run single. Alex Gordon moved Butler to second with a single. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base before Maier hit a sac fly to give the Royals a 4-3 edge.
The White Sox, though, put a three-spot on the board in the sixth to take back the lead. Beckham singled, advanced to second on Bullington’s errant pickoff attempt, and scored on Castro’s homer to left. Brent Lillibridge doubled, chasing Bullington from the game. Kanekoa Texeira came in from the bullpen and retired the first two batters he faced. Rios, though, hit an RBI single off Texeira to make it 6-4 in favor of Chicago.
The White Sox have prevailed in eight of 14 meetings between these divisional foes so far this season. Chicago, though, is just 3-7 over its last 10 games played with the Royals in Kansas City…The White Sox and Royals played a twinbill for the first time since a split on June 5, 1983 at old Comiskey Park…Chicago, which had 16 hits, has collected 10 or more hits in eight straight games…Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 15 games…There was a brief power failure in the top of the fourth inning…Putz recorded his fourth blown save of the season.