CHICAGO (AP) — Michael Massey homered for the second straight game, Salvador Perez had three hits and two RBIs and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 on Wednesday night.
Four pitchers combined to limit Chicago to one run on five hits while striking out nine. Kansas City won its second straight against Chicago and took the season series 7-6.
Rookie Steven Cruz opened with two scoreless, two-hit innings in his first career start. Fellow rookie Alec Marsh (1-8) followed, allowing one run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings for his first major league victory.
“That was probably the best we’ve seen with him as far as his execution of pitches, the quality the shape of the pitched, the competitiveness,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said.
James McArthur got five outs, and Tucker Davidson tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the win for Marsh, who pitched in his 14th game. The 25-year-old righty started eight of them since being recalled from Omaha and making his debut June 30.
“To see the things I’ve been working on, to see it come together was amazing” said Marsh, who added teammates “didn’t let up on him” in a postgame celebration.
Massey has six homers and 17 RBIs in 19 career games against the White Sox, a team he rooted for while growing up in the Chicago suburb of Palos Park, Illinois. The 25-year-old infielder has 13 homers this year, his second in the majors, and 17 total so far in his career.
As usual, Massey had group of family and friends cheering him on during the series on the South Side.
“I’ve gone back and forth, like, `If I’m doing it against these guys, what have I got to change against other teams?'” Massey said. “Again, I think it always comes down to just my family’s here and being comfortable with them the whole week.”
Chicago starter Mike Clevinger (7-8) allowed two runs — on Massey’s drive in the second — and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and didn’t give up a walk.
“Six innings, two runs, made one mistake,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “Paid for it with Massey, but overall this is another good start for him.”
Nick Loftin drove in two runs, with a single and double, after entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Loftin, Perez and Bobby Witt, Jr. had RBIs in the seventh for the Royals, whose 46—101 record is the worst in the majors. The White Sox have the fourth-worst mark at 56-90. Both teams have been eliminated from the postseason.
Massey hit Clevinger’s 1-0 fastball into the right-field bullpen in the second to put Kansas City ahead 2-0.
Loftin and Perez each had an RBI single in the seventh as Kansas City scored three-runs off relievers Aaron Bummer and Lane Ramsey to take a 5-0 lead. Witt drove in a run with a sac fly.
Through the first six innings, Chicago advanced only two runners as far as second base.
The White Sox broke through in the seventh. Yoán Moncada led off with a double, then advanced to third on Andrew Vaughn’s infield hit and scored when Witt threw wildly on Yasmani Grandal’s grounder to shortstop.
Loftin and Perez drove in runs in the ninth.
HE EARNED IT
Marsh threw 74 pitches, 50 for strikes.
The Milwaukee native struck out Gavin Sheets to cap a 13-pitch at bat for the first out of the seventh before McArthur took over and got Elvis Andrus to ground into a double-play.
“I think it was the longest at-bat of my career,” Marsh said. “It was a battle the whole time.”
Royals: Had not yet named a starter to face Houston RHP Cristian Javier (9-3, 4.78) at Kansas City on Friday.
White Sox: Will send RHP José Ureña (0-5, 8.46) to face Minnesota RHP Kenta Maeda (4-7, 4.65) in Chicago on Thursday to open a four-game series.