Royals hand White Sox 98th loss of season

Friday, September 27, 2013 | 11:43 p.m. CDT; updated 5:25 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 28, 2013
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields delivers during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox on Friday in Chicago. The Royals won 6-1.

CHICAGO — Even though he was less than stellar in his final outing of the season, White Sox ace Chris Sale finished with some gaudy statistics: 214 1-3 innings pitched, 226 strikeouts and a 3.07 ERA.

"Those are all things to build off of, I guess you could say, and things to strive for in the future," Sale said following a 6-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

"You can strike out as many people as you want, but you've got to win some games," Sale said. "That's something else I'm waiting for for next year."

Despite the impressive statistics and establishing himself as one of the better pitchers in the American League, Sale finished with an 11-14 record, which is an indication of the lack of run production the White Sox have managed in compiling a 62-98 record and ensuring the franchise's worst record since 1970.

Because of that, manager Robin Ventura noticed points of the season where Sale tried to be a little too perfect.

"At times, I think he had a little of that," Ventura said. "We weren't scoring runs for him and he felt if he gave up one run, in his mannerisms you could see he felt as if he lost the game. At times, I don't blame him for that either, because that's what happened."

The White Sox didn't offer much run support Friday — their lone run came on a homer by Gordon Beckham in the sixth inning — but it probably wouldn't have mattered in this one because Sale was less than his best, giving up four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

"I think that's a reoccurring theme every year: My last one's always a bad one," Sale said. "Hopefully, I can fix that next year. I just didn't have it tonight."

His counterpart certainly did. James Shields (13-9) struck out 10 and scattered four hits over seven innings for his 100th career win. Shields (13-9) gave up just one run and walked one.

"He's given us not only No. 1 starter stuff, he's provided great leadership, has been a great example for our guys," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Shields. "He's a big part of our season and why we're at 85 wins now."

Billy Butler led the Royals with three hits and two RBIs, while Emilio Bonifacio drove in two runs with two hits.

The Royals' 85th win is their most since 1989 when they were 92-70.

The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the first off Sale.

Bonifacio walked and stole second, moved to third on Eric Hosmer's single, and both scored on Butler's double. Butler scored on Lorenzo Cain's single.

Kansas City made it 4-0 in the fourth when Jamey Carroll doubled — the 1,000th hit of his major league career — and scored on Bonifacio's single.

Sale was lifted with one out in the top of the sixth. He gave up four runs and nine hits, walked one and struck out five. He also hit a batter.

Sale's replacement, Jacob Petricka, promptly gave up two runs. Alcides Escobar singled and scored on Alex Gordon's double. Gordon scored on another single by Bonifacio.

Following Beckham's fifth home run of the season in the sixth, Alexei Ramirez, appeared to follow with another homer, but Gordon grabbed the ball at the fence in left field.

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