KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mike Sweeney did the unexpected in Kansas City's six-run sixth inning.
Sweeney, a five-time All-Star, caught everybody off guard with a bunt single to help the Royals defeat the Chicago White Sox for the first time this season, 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Kansas City beat All-Star starter Mark Buehrle and snapped an 11-game losing streak to the White Sox, defeating them for the first time since Oct. 2.
Buehrle and Jose Lima were in a pitchers' duel with the score 1-1 when Chip Ambres led off the sixth with a single. Sweeney then bunted down the third-base line, and Pablo Ozuna had no play.
"When Sweeney laid that bunt down, I thought I lost total control of the team," Royals manager Buddy Bell said and laughed. "It probably surprised me more than it did Ozuna. Buehrle pretty much had his way with us and Mike felt that was the best way to get us going. That's the mark of a winner."
It certainly got the Royals going. The inning included a three-run double by Mark Teahen, and he scored on a throwing error.
Kansas City sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth, recorded five hits and took advantage of two Chicago throwing errors to back a strong outing by Lima.
"We were facing the best pitcher in the American League and with the game tied 1-1 late, the chance I could ground into a double play was strong," Sweeney said. "The bunt ended up igniting our offense and we had a big inning. Against a guy like Buehrle, you've got to do something special."
It was just Sweeney's ninth career bunt single in nearly 10 years in the majors.
"Once in a blue moon," Sweeney said. "Buehrle was on his A-game, even though it might not show up in the boxscore."
Emil Brown's double scored Ambres to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. Sweeney scored on Matt Stairs' fielder's choice grounder, with Juan Uribe charged with an error on a high throw home.
Buehrle (12-4) walked Angel Berroa intentionally to load the bases and bring up Teahen. His double down the right-field line scored Brown, Stairs and Berroa. When second baseman Willie Harris made an errant throw home to try to cut down Berroa, Teahen came around to score.
"We finally got one to bounce our way against these guys," Teahen said. "All year it seems like it has bounced their way. They beat us soundly a few times. It's been a long time since we beat them. From Sweeney's bunt to my ball hitting the base, things worked out that inning."
Lima (4-8) held the White Sox to one run in six innings for his sixth consecutive quality start. He is 3-1 in his past four starts. Lima limited Chicago to five hits, walked three and struck out five.
"I know how I struggled at the beginning of the year, but it's not the way you start, but how you finish," Lima said. "At least the Royals haven't given up on me. I always pitch good the second half."
Buehrle, who has thrown at least six innings in 49 consecutive starts, the longest streak in the majors since Steve Carlton had 69 starts in a row of six or more innings from 1979-82, gave up eight hits and seven runs in six innings. It was just his fifth loss in 17 career decisions against Kansas City.
"I made my pitches, but they used the whole field from foul line to foul line and everything in between," Buehrle said.
He appreciated White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen leaving him in to keep the streak alive.
"I'd rather go five innings and win than have what happened today," Buehrle said.
Lima entered just 2-5 with a 9.34 ERA against the White Sox.
"When he's on, it's Lima time," Guillen said. "When he's not, it is opposition time. You don't know which Lima you're going to get. Some people love him and some people hate him. I like him except when he pitches against my team. I love him. I think he's good for the game."
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Uribe walked and scored on Ozuna's two-out triple.
The Royals tied it in the fourth. Sweeney led off with a double and stopped at third on Brown's single. Stairs' sacrifice fly sent Sweeney home.
The start was delayed 83 minutes by rain. ... The Royals, who turned a double play in the fifth, top the AL with 61 double plays since Bell became manager on May 31. ... Royals C Alberto Castillo threw out Scott Podsednik, who leads the AL with 51 stolen bases, trying to swipe second in the first inning. Castillo has thrown out five of the past six attempted base stealers when he is catching. ... The White Sox have outscored opponents 84-41 in the first inning. They were outscored 112-109 in the first inning last season.