KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have no more games left against the Kansas City Royals, and that's a good thing for the AL Central leaders.
Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez threw out Alex Rios at the plate and picked off Alexei Ramirez at third base, and the White Sox kept missing chances Thursday night in a 4-3 loss to the Royals.
Eric Hosmer singled home the winning run on a 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning.
Chicago stayed two games ahead of Detroit, which lost in the afternoon to Oakland, with 13 games remaining. The White Sox went 6-12 against the Royals this year, including one stretch of six consecutive losses.
"We've played them tough all year," Hosmer said. "It's baseball. Certain teams match up well against other teams."
After going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Kansas City, the White Sox went 1 for 8 in those situations and stranded seven runners. Chicago is hitting .190 with runners in scoring position over the past 19 games.
"If you keep shooting yourself in the foot it's going to come back to bite you," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "If you keep having opportunities and not taking advantage, a team like this will beat you."
Rios tried to score with one out in the third when Jeremy Guthrie's pitch rolled a few feet behind Perez. But Perez's toss to Guthrie cut down Rios at the plate.
"Alex thinks he can go, then he hesitates," Ventura said. "That one's an instinct play, you go or you stop. It's little things like that we have to stop doing."
Rios' out became more magnified when Kevin Youkilis singled to left two pitches later.
"If you hesitate and don't get a good read, bad stuff happens when you do that," Rios said. "You have to be aware of the situation, with one out I could have scored on a fly ball. It was a tough read, a bad angle. I hesitated. I've got to go without hesitating."
Perez nabbed Ramirez in the fourth for his fifth pickoff, most among major league catchers.
"I don't know if they've got quicksand around third, but we've been losing guys over there," Ventura said.
Chicago wasted an early 3-0 lead and lost to the sub-.500 Royals for the ninth time in their last 11 meetings.