|Chi. White Sox «||1||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||x||4||6||0|
As they both looked on helplessly Wednesday, Doug Mientkiewicz's slow roller off a checked swing didn't stray into foul territory. Instead, the ball seemed to have a mind of its own and stayed fair. And after 6 1/3 innings, Vazquez's chance to pitch a no-hitter was over.
"I mean, what can you do?' Vazquez said. "It kind of stinks that was the first hit. ... That's part of the game."
"I was positioned way off the line and back with Mientkiewicz up there," Crede said. "I tried to dig a ditch to get the ball to go foul, but it didn't work. It's just something where any time you see a ball like that or a bunt down the line, you know it's going to stay fair because there's kind of a lip on the line right there."
The Royals, who had a 19-game losing streak late last season, managed one run and 11 hits in the three-game series against Chicago. Kansas City's 2-12 start is its second-slowest behind 1992, when the Royals lost 16 of their first 17, and Royals starting pitchers are 0-9 this season.
Mientkiewicz said the pitch was running in on him.
"A hit is a hit," he said. "It was a slider, and I'm definitely not going to apologize for a base hit."
After the hit, Vazquez got an ovation from the crowd of 26,327.
He got an even louder one in the ninth after he gave up a leadoff single to Esteban German and was replaced by Neal Cotts, who immediately gave up another single, to pinch-hitter John Buck. Bobby Jenks got two outs for his sixth save, sealing Chicago's ninth win in 10 games.
Vazquez (1-1), Chicago's No. 5 starter, struck out seven and walked one in eight-plus innings.
He'd been hit hard in his previous outing against Toronto, giving up seven runs and nine hits in six innings. In one inning alone, he surrendered seven hits, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Wednesday's game that Vazquez had been tipping his pitches.
"I just felt better overall. My body, my arm felt better," Vazquez said. "It was special hearing the home crowd and throwing my first good game here. The last time, I stunk a little bit."
Vazquez pitched a one-hitter in 1999 for Montreal against the Dodgers, and the only hit he surrendered that game was in the fourth inning to Mark Grudzielanek, now with the Royals.
Grudzielanek wasn't in the lineup Wednesday because of a sore Achilles' tendon. Neither was David DeJesus, who left Tuesday night's game with tightness in his left hamstring, or Mike Sweeney and Reggie Sanders, who were out of the starting lineup to rest. Sweeney pinch hit in the ninth.
"Vazquez was really good. I don't want to take anything away from him, but I think he caught us at a pretty good time," Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
"Right now, because we haven't won in a while, guys are trying to swing for the fences."
Scott Elarton (0-4) gave up four runs -- three earned -- five hits and five walked in 4 1/3 innings.
Royals leadoff batter Shane Costa had one of his team's hardest-hit balls when he sent center fielder Rob Mackowiak to the warning track in the first for his long drive. Vazquez retired his first 12 batters before walking Matt Stairs on 3-2 pitch leading off the fifth. Costa hit a solid liner in the sixth that was grabbed by leaping shortstop Juan Uribe to end the inning.
|Javier Vazquez loses his no-hitter, but pitches into the ninth to get his first win of the season. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|Shane Costa, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.263|
|Tony Graffanino, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.118|
|a- Mike Sweeney, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.125|
|Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.227|
|Matt Stairs, DH||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.000|
|Emil Brown, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.188|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.233|
|Angel Berroa, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.229|
|Esteban German, CF||3||0||1||0||0||2||0||.444|
|Paul Bako, C||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.200|
|b- John Buck, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.233|
|a-lined out for Graffanino in the 9th|
|b-singled for Bako in the 9th|
|DP - Graffanino-Berroa-Mientkiewicz|
|PB - Paul Bako (1)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Scott Elarton (L,0-4)||4.1||5||4||3||5||0||1||4.07|
|IBB - Thome by Scott Elarton|
|HBP - Dye (by Scott Elarton)|
|WP - Scott Elarton (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 77-38, Luke Hudson 24-15, Elmer Dessens 12-7, Ambiorix Burgos 15-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 2-10, Luke Hudson 2-1, Elmer Dessens 2-1, Ambiorix Burgos 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 23, Luke Hudson 5, Elmer Dessens 3, Ambiorix Burgos 3|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Scott Podsednik, LF||3||1||2||0||1||0||1||.204|
|Alex Cintron, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.333|
|Jim Thome, DH||2||1||0||0||2||0||0||.333|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.351|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||1||0||0||1||2||0||0||.282|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||5||.283|
|Joe Crede, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.313|
|Rob Mackowiak, CF||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.115|
|Juan Uribe, SS||3||1||1||1||0||0||1||.200|
|2B - Scott Podsednik (3, Elarton)|
|HR - Juan Uribe (1, Elarton)|
|RBI - Jermaine Dye (9), Juan Uribe (5)|
|CS - Scott Podsednik 2 (2, 2nd base by Elarton/Bako, 2nd base by Hudson/Bako)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Uribe-Konerko|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Javier Vazquez (W,1-1)||8||2||0||0||1||7||0||3.86|
|Bobby Jenks (S,6)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.86|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 108-76, Neal Cotts 16-12, Bobby Jenks 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 5-11, Neal Cotts 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 26, Neal Cotts 2, Bobby Jenks 2|
|Attendance - 26327|
|Game Time - 2:34|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Ed Montague|