It took until eighth inning Thursday night but, finally, the Royals found an answer against the Chicago White Sox after two frustrating losses.
An emphatic answer, too.
Mike Aviles and Jose Guillen delivered RBI doubles before Mark Teahen circled the bases for an inside-the-park homer for a 4-1 victory that enabled the Royals to avoid a sweep in the three-game series.
All when it looked bleakest.
Chicago starter Mark Buehrle carried a four-hit shutout into the eighth inning before the Royals roused themselves.
Ron Mahay, 5-0, got the victory after working a one-two-three eighth inning in relief of Zack Greinke. Joakim Soria sailed through the White Sox in the ninth for his 24th save in 26 opportunities.
John Buck opened the eighth with a single, but David DeJesus fouled off two sacrifice attempts before hitting a potential double-play grounder to short.
The Royals caught a break when first baseman Paul Konerko failed to hold the throw from second baseman Alexei Ramirez.
It was just what the Royals needed.
Konerko’s error allowed the Royals to pull even when Aviles yanked an RBI double past third. Aviles’ double also finished Buehrle; Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen called on Octavio Dotel, the ex-Royal, for a righty-righty matchups against Mark Grudzielanek and Guillen.
It worked against Grudzielanek, who popped out to first, but Guillen ripped an RBI double over the head of center fielder Nick Swisher for a 2-1 lead. Guillen then called on lefty Boone Logan to face Teahen, who lined a drive into the right-center gap.
Teahen kept running when Swisher and second baseman Alexei Ramirez were slow to play the ball and handle the relay. The result was his second inside-the-park homer of the year.
The Royals won for just the third time in 10 games and beat the White Sox for the first time this season in six games. The teams play 12 more times.
Greinke settled for a no-decision after matching Buehrle in a magnificent pitchers’ duel. Greinke gave up one run and six hits in seven innings while striking out eight and walking one.
Chicago got its only run on a moonshot homer by Jermaine Dye in the fourth inning.
Buerhle ended up with a tough loss and fell to 6-8.
The Royals mounted the game’s first threat when they put runners at first and third with one out in the third after DeJesus’ single. But Buehrle struck out Aviles and retired Grudzielanek on a pop to second.
That allowed Chicago to take the lead when Dye hammered a one-out homer in the fourth. The ball carried 434 feet before bouncing onto the grass berm above the left-field fountains.
Dye’s homer was his 20th of the season and broke a zero-for-11 skid in the series.
It was also the 17th homer allowed by Greinke, which leads the club and ranks third in the American League.
The Royals also wasted a one-out double by Teahen in the fourth when Buehrle induced ground outs from Alex Gordon and Billy Butler.
Dye’s two-out double in the sixth — a rocket into the left-center gap — provide the White Sox with the chance to extend their lead. Jim Thome followed with a walk, but Greinke retired Paul Konerko on a fly to right.