The White Sox are executing well and doing the little things right. Jim Thome drove in two runs and Scott Podsednik and Alexei Ramirez delivered RBI singles in the ninth, leading Chicago past the staggering Royals 5-3 Saturday night. It was the eighth win in 11 games for Chicago, following a five-game losing skid.
For the Royals, it was the 15th setback in 20 games following a six-game winning streak.
"We're doing a lot of good things," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen. "We ran the bases hard, going first to third. That's the baseball you've been watching the last couple of weeks. We're pushing every time we get on base, we try to get something done."
The Royals in their three-week skid have been doing most of the little things wrong.
"We should have won the game," said Trey Hillman, the Royals' disgusted manager.
Mark Buehrle went 7 1/3 innings and gave up three runs and seven hits. He struck out six and did not issue a walk for the third straight start. The victory went to Scott Linebrink (2-2), who relieved Buehrle one out after Miguel Olivo had hit his first pitch of the eighth for a home run that tied it 3-all.
"We were playing bad and it was only a matter of time when we turned it around and started playing better," said Buehrle. "Everybody knows we can hit home runs, but we're not going to win every game just hitting home runs. We've got to get on and make things happen, top of the lineup to the bottom of the lineup."
In the ninth, Chris Getz singled and Josh Fields walked off Juan Cruz (3-1). Podsednik then drove in the go-ahead run and Ramirez, with his third hit, made it 5-3 with another RBI hit.
Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11 opportunities.
After the White Sox sent six men to the plate to score one run and go ahead 3-2 in the eighth, Miguel Olivo tied it again at 3-all when he homered off Buehrle's first pitch of the bottom of the eighth.
"If we didn't win the game, I'd be [angrier]," Buehrle said.
Typical of how the Royals are playing was the Chicago eighth. After Podsednik reached on an infield single, Ramirez rolled a bunt up the first-base line.
Reliever John Bale picked it up and tossed to second baseman Alberto Callaspo covering the bag on what would have been a close play.
But first baseman Billy Butler, who had run in toward the ball, stuck his glove out and caught the ball even though he was several feet off the bag. Ramirez was safe, and a few minutes later the go-ahead run scored on Thome's infield out.
"It's a play that's designed defensively. It's been designed that way for a long time," said Hillman. "Second baseman has first base coverage and it was a good bunt. I can understand how he gets caught in between but if he gets caught in between he's got to get out of the way and let the pitcher get the ball to the second baseman."
Jermaine Dye tripled off the wall in center in the fourth and scored on Thome's sacrifice fly. Getz had a sacrifice fly for the White Sox in the seventh.
Royals starter Gil Meche went seven innings in his strongest outing in more than a month. He gave up five hits and two runs with two walks and tied his season-best with seven strikeouts.
Olivo entered the game in the third when catcher John Buck developed back spasms.
All-Star closer Joakim Soria was to fly home to Kansas City Saturday night after an apparently successful rehab stint at the Royals' complex in Surprise, Ariz. He's been on the DL with a strain of the right rotator cuff. Hillman was unsure when he might rejoin the club. ... Both teams were in retro uniforms, KC representing the 1924 Kansas City Monarchs and the White Sox wearing the garb of the 1926 Chicago American Giants. ... A crowd of 37,894 made it the fifth sellout of the year in Kauffman Stadium.