CHICAGO -- With only five runs in their previous four games and their frustrated owner promising to shake things up, the Kansas City Royals staged a memorable ninth-inning rally.
And now they have two straight road wins after losing their first 12 away from home.
"Whenever you score three or four runs off those guys anytime in the game, it's something special," Matt Stairs said Friday when his two-run, bases-loaded single capped a four-run ninth that led to a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
"It's good when you've got seven wins," Stairs added.
And that's what the Royals have now to go with 20 losses. And three of those victories have come against the defending World Series champions, but none more satisfying than Friday's.
"There is no easy team in baseball. They got speed and they pitched well against us," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said after his team lost for just the fifth time in 24 games.
"With Buddy Bell, those guys are not going to give up. I know what type of manager he is. I know what type person he is. He is not going to let those guys down. He's not going to sit there and let those guys relax. He's going to be pushing all the way to the end."
Joe Crede's solo homer in the eighth off Elmer Dessens (2-1) put Chicago up 2-1, but the White Sox's bullpen couldn't hold it in the ninth when three relievers issued four walks.
Kerry Robinson had a go-ahead single before Stairs polished off the rally that put the Royals up 5-2.
Jim Thome hit a two-run homer in the ninth against Ambiorix Burgos to cut the lead to one. Burgos put two more on but got Rob Mackowiak to flyout to end it and collect his fourth save.
"Burgy's been good. Our pitching's been outstanding here for close to a month," Bell said.
"If you can turn anything around, it starts with your pitching and our pitching's been really good. ... There's not a whole lot said about our pitching because we're not scoring runs. Tonight we didn't score until late, but our at-bats were a little better."
And they were helped by the White Sox's wildness as Chicago's 10-game winning streak at U.S. Cellular Field came to an end.
Aaron Guiel worked Matt Thornton for a leadoff walk and the Royals kept the rally going against Bobby Jenks (1-1), who blew his first save after converting nine straight.
Jenks walked pinch-hitter Tony Graffanino with one out and then gave up a tying RBI single to Esteban German.
Robinson then slapped a single in the hole to left for a 3-2 lead before he was picked off between first and second. After Jenks walked Mark Grudzielanek, Boone Logan issued another walk to Doug Mientkiewicz to load bases before Stairs hit a two-run single to right-center.
"The last time I checked I don't think anybody is perfect on the field," said Jenks, who'd saved 12 straight dating to last season. "It was one of those days when I didn't have my best stuff. They are big league hitters for a reason. They just beat me."
Kansas City's victory came after frustrated owner David Glass promised some changes. The Royals won their first road game Thursday night by beating the Twins 1-0.
Royals starter Scott Elarton allowed just three hits in six-plus innings, including Tadahito Iguchi's game-tying homer leading off the seventh.
The Royals ended a scoreless duel between Elarton and Chicago's Jon Garland in the seventh when John Buck's fly ball fell beyond diving White Sox right fielder Ross Gload for a double and German followed with an RBI single.
Before Iguchi's homer to right-center, Elarton gave up two leadoff hits to Scott Podsednik, a single in the first and a double in the fourth.
The Royals had a big first inning under way when the first two batters, Robinson and Grudzielanek, singled off Garland. But No. 3 hitter Mientkiewicz sacrificed before Stairs popped out and Emil Brown hit back to the mound.
Royals OF Reggie Sanders was out of the lineup with a tight left hamstring after leaving Thursday's game after two innings. Guiel replaced him. ... White Sox RF Jermaine Dye was out of the lineup for a third straight game with a sore calf and Gload made his third straight start. Dye said he was improving but wasn't sure when he would be able to play. ... Royals C Buck snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a second-inning single. ... Garland has three no-decisions in his last three starts. ... Elarton was 0-2 this season against the White Sox before Friday night. ... Game-time temperature was just 48 degrees. ... Thome's homer was his 12th of the season and 442nd of his career, tying him with Dave Kingman for 31st on the career list.