KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie couldn't find the strike zone in the first inning. When the Royals' starter finally found it in the third, the Chicago White Sox made him wish he was still searching for it.
The White Sox scored five times in the inning to break the game open, and then cruised behind some superb pitching from Hector Santiago to a 9-1 rout of Kansas City on Friday night.
"I was hoping to have a much longer evening than I had," Guthrie said.
Guthrie (7-5) walked three in the first inning, when some lousy base running by the White Sox kept the damage to just two runs. But three straight hits to start the third and a single by Conor Gillaspie later in the inning drove the Royals' right-hander from the game.
When reliever Bruce Chen promptly served up a three-run homer by Dayan Viciedo, Guthrie's stat line was complete: Six runs on five hits and three walks in 2 1-3 innings, his shortest start since going the same distance for the Orioles on July 7, 2009.
"He just didn't have it," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was one of those nights when he didn't have much going for him."
Hector Santiago had no such problem.
The replacement for injured starter Gavin Floyd, Santiago (3-5) delivered his best outing since going seven scoreless innings May 7 against the Mets. He gave up just three hits and a walk over a career-best eight innings, the only blemish a homer by Eric Hosmer in the sixth.
"He got that early lead. He was pounding the strike zone and letting his defense do the work," Hosmer said. "He had a lot of run support and he was feeling confident. When you have that lead you can tell the hitter, 'Here it is. Hit it.'"
It seemed that Guthrie was telling the White Sox the same thing with far different results.
On a warm, windy night at Kauffman Stadium, Guthrie struggled with his command so much that a bases-loaded free pass that he issued to Paul Konerko in the first inning brought in the game's first run. Conor Gillaspie's sacrifice fly later gave Chicago a 2-0 lead.
The real trouble for Guthrie came in the third, when Alexei Ramirez led off with a single and Alex Rios doubled over the head of Alex Gordon in left field. Adam Dunn's single drove in another run, and Gillaspie's single knocked Guthrie from the game.