Mendoza outpitches Sale, but Royals lose 2-1
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Luis Mendoza outpitched Chris Sale on Sunday. His offense couldn't outscore the White Sox, though.
Chicago beat Kansas City 2-1 Sunday on the strength of Adam Dunn's homer and Alexei Ramirez's run-scoring double-play grounder, sending the Royals to their 10th loss in 13 games.
Mendoza gave up two runs on four hits, only one after the second inning, while striking out six and walking four in 7 1-3 innings.
Dunn hit his AL-best 28th homer in the first inning. The other run scored when third baseman Mike Moustakas made a diving stop of Ramirez's smash grounder to start a double play with the bases loaded in the second.
"Mendoza did a great job," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The one inning with the bases loaded, Moose really picked us up with just really tremendous defense. They were only able to get the one run, the run that beat us, but that was big."
Sale (11-2), who is 8-0 since a May 12 loss to the Royals, gave up a season high 10 hits in eight innings, but only one run.
"Sale showed why he was an All Star, but Mendoza almost matched him," Yost said. "He's kept his pitch count down and he's effectively using his breaking ball, locating with his fastball. He's just pitching well."
While Mendoza pitched well, he is 1-4 in his past 10 outings, the past seven of them starts.
"The first two innings I gave up two runs and tried to settle down good there," Mendoza said. "I was trying to make my pitches. Moustakas' play was huge to get out of it with the double play and the pop up. It gave me a lot of confidence to keep making my pitches."
Dunn, who leads the league with 28 home runs and has homered in three straight games, drilled a 2-0 pitch from Mendoza (3-6) just inside the right-field pole in the first inning. Dunn has 65 hits overall this season, meaning 43 percent of them have been home runs.
"On 2-0, I was geared up for a fastball and it was a changeup," Dunn said. "I just caught it out in front. I don't hit many of those line drive home runs. I could have easily hooked it foul. That was obviously a positive thing. That's what we've been working on all spring to stay inside of it."
Addison Reed, who blew a save Friday, worked a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 16 opportunities.
The Royals avoided a shutout when Mike Moustakas, who led off the fifth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, scored on Chris Getz's single.
Getz moved to third on Alex Gordon's single, but was stranded when Alcides Escobar struck out and Butler grounded out.
The Royals went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position against Sale.
"We knew who we had to face today and he was as good as advertised," Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "He has his fastball in the 86 to 95 range and a change of pace and the slurve. His speed is all over the place. With him it's hard to get that gapper. You've got to be patient. You can't be trying to kill if or he'll get you with that off-speed every time."
The AL Central leading White Sox are 7-2 in their past nine games. The Royals lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
NOTES: 1B Eric Hosmer, who is hitless in his past 11 at-bats to drop his average to .224, was not in the Royals lineup Sunday. .Royals C Manny Pina, who had knee surgery in spring training, was reinstated from the disabled list and optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. RHP Felipe Paulino, who had season-ending elbow surgery, was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day. .Dunn has homered in three straight games for the second time this season. The first was June 9-12. .White Sox 1B Paul Konerko is hitting .228 since May 28. He had a .399 average before then. .LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who has not won since April 8, will be the Royals' starter Monday for the series opener against Seattle. The Mariners will counter with LHP Jason Vargas. .The White Sox travel to Boston, which will be a homecoming for 3B Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox dealt him on June 24 to Chicago.