KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Once the Chicago White Sox had put two runs on the board — it took them all of one inning — it was up to Hector Santiago to simply pour strikes into the zone.
The Kansas City Royals' punchless offense couldn't touch him.
Santiago wound up pitching a career-best eight innings, and long home runs by Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza turned Friday night's game into a 9-1 rout by the White Sox.
"Getting ahead early and getting the lead, we just kept putting on and putting on," said Santiago, who has taken over injured starter Gavin Floyd's spot in the rotation.
"You want to go out every inning and show them you're fighting," he said. "They score runs and you want to get them back in so they keep scoring."
Viciedo's three-run shot capped a five-run third inning, and De Aza's two-run homer in the sixth put the game away. Tyler Flowers was the only member of the White Sox starting lineup without a hit against Jeremy Guthrie, reliever Bruce Chen and the Royals' roughed-up bullpen.
"It was a good first inning," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said, "and I think the approach all night, and against those two guys, having Guthrie and Chen in there at the same time, as tough as they've been on us, you're exorcising some curse or something. It was good."
It was easily Santiago's best performance since going seven scoreless innings May 7 against the New York Mets. It also helped the scuffling White Sox get back on track after losing 17 of 22 and dropping a season-high 12 games below .500.
The left-hander gave up just three hits and a walk, and Eric Hosmer's homer in the sixth represented the only run Santiago (3-5) has allowed to the Royals in 19 1-3 career innings.
"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.'"
On a warm, windy night at Kauffman Stadium, Guthrie (7-5) walked three of the first five batters he faced, and the bases-loaded free pass that he issued to Paul Konerko brought in the game's first run. Conor Gillaspie added a sacrifice fly later in the first to make it 2-0.