KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kyle Davies pitched better against the Chicago White Sox. The result wound up the same.
Davies allowed only two earned runs while pitching into the sixth inning, and struck out a career-best nine, before shortstop Alcides Escobar threw away his chance for a victory with a critical error that led to two more unearned runs. The Chicago White Sox went on to win 5-2 on Monday night.
``It just comes down we've got to win a ball game and we didn't tonight,' said Davies, who has lost eight straight starts and hasn't won since April 13. ``I was trying to pitch on both sides of the plate and not be so predictable. It was a little bit better, but I still need to be a little bit better than that.'
In his previous six starts, Davies had yielded 25 earned runs in 24 innings - so this qualified as improvement, modest as it may have been.
``He had a very good curveball,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``His fastball had very good life on it. He mixed in some changeups. But for the most part he was locating his curveball down and middle, away, in good spots and got a bunch of strikeouts with it.
``All in all I think it was a step forward for him.'
Escobar's throwing error on Gordon Beckham's grounder proved to be the key play. His throw with the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning zipped past second baseman Chris Getz while trying to start a double play, and it was finally corralled by first baseman Eric Hosmer - though not before Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski were standing on second and third with one out.
That finished Davies' outing at 106 pitches. Rookie left-hander Everett Teaford, who was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game, allowed both runners to score.
Yost said that was ``probably' Escobar's worst play of the season.
``It just wasn't a good throw,' Yost said. ``Right now we're not able to cover mistakes. You can make mistakes and end up giving up a run or two, but you better be able to cover it offensively and cover it on the pitching side. We're just not able to cover mistakes right now.'
Mark Buehrle (7-5) lasted seven innings in another impressive start to win for the first time since June 9. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his last 14 starts going back to April 22.
The veteran left-hander, in the final year of a four-year, $56 million contract, allowed five hits while striking out three and throwing 111 pitches in 95-degree temperatures.
The heat index at Kauffman Stadium was 102 at first pitch.
``It wasn't bad,' Buehrle said with a smile.
Buehrle turned over the lead over to Jesse Crain, who worked a perfect eighth inning. Matt Thornton retired the first two batters of the ninth before Sergio Santos wrapped up the win.
The White Sox (47-49), coming off a 4-3 loss at Detroit on Sunday in which they blew a 3-0 lead, climbed back within two games of .500. Not bad for a club that started the season 11-22.
Davies gave the Royals a chance, at one point getting seven straight outs with strikeouts. But he also allowed a leadoff triple to Juan Pierre that turned into a run on Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly, and another run in the third when Ramirez singled and came home on Paul Konerko's double.
Beckham tacked on another run with an RBI groundout in the eighth.
The only spot of trouble Buehrle ran into came in the fifth inning, when Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler drove in the Royals' only runs. Chicago answered with a little help from some balky defense, dooming the Royals to another frustrating defeat in a summer full of them.
``This team is trouble for me because any team that hacks early it seems I have trouble with,' Buehrle said. ``They're going to be a good team to come.'
Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his right foot Sunday at Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said that Gordon received treatment Monday and he shouldn't be out too long. ... Ozzie Guillen reiterated his support for bringing back Buehrle next season, but the White Sox manager also said it won't be his decision. ``I wish it was in my hands, but it isn't,' he said. . RHP Luis Mendoza, who was in the Kansas City bullpen to open last season, nearly threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Omaha on Monday night against Memphis. A line drive that ticked off a fielder's glove in the ninth inning was initially ruled an error, but the official scorer reviewed the play after the game and decided to call it a hit. So Mendoza ended up with a 1-hitter in the 4-0 victory.
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