"It's always a relief when we win, especially the way we've lost some games this season," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Especially in front of our fans. Hopefully they've seen there's quite a bit of character and quite a bit of fight left in these guys."
The Royals had been drained by one-run losses in the first two games of the series, giving the White Sox five straight wins over them this season. The opener was a 13-inning battle and KC blew a 5-0 lead in the second game.
Perhaps it was no surprise then, that the Royals foundered against old nemesis Mark Buehrle for seven innings. Not that the White Sox did much against Zack Greinke, either.
"Zack was outstanding, especially against the sluggers in their offense, and it's obvious how much they have, as evidenced by that fence-scraper home run that was hit off him," Hillman said.
Oh yeah, that fence-scraper.
Jermaine Dye gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when he blasted Greinke's first pitch for a sky-bomb over the waterfall that cascades high above the left-field wall. The distance was estimated at a whopping 434 feet.
"Changeup down the middle," Greinke said. "It felt really good coming out of my hand, too. It's one of those times you're like, 'Wow, that felt good.' And he crushed it."
Other than that, Greinke rolled through seven innings handily, notching eight strikeouts and impressing the White Sox.
"To me, he's one of the best pitchers in the American League," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Ron Mahay relieved Greinke in the eighth and pitched a perfect inning. That was the setup for the Royals' rally, as well as Soria's 24th save in the ninth.
In the eighth, John Buck led off with a single against Buehrle, who came into the came with a 16-6 record in his career against KC. David DeJesus smacked a ball off Buehrle's glove, and the White Sox attempted to turn a double play. DeJesus, though, fled down the line and was safe at first when second baseman Alexei Ramirez's relay throw was missed by first baseman Paul Konerko.
Konerko was charged with an error and DeJesus was on first with one out. Mike Aviles whistled a shot down the third-base line.
"I actually saw the replay," Aviles said. "It wasn't that far off of [Joe Crede's glove]. I'd have been real upset if Crede got hold of that one. He's been making some plays all series."
Crede couldn't get it, though, and Aviles found himself on second base with a game-tying double to chase Buehrle from the game. Reliever Octavio Dotel got the second out, inducing a pop up from Mark Grudzielanek.
Guillen, who was 0-for-7 in his career against Dotel, then came to the plate and blasted a double over center fielder Nick Swisher to score Aviles with the go-ahead run.
"I got a good swing on it," Guillen said. "I knew it was over his head. I hit that ball good."
Now Kauffman Stadium was rocking. Lefty Boone Logan was summoned from the White Sox bullpen to face Teahen.
Teahen clubbed a long shot into right-center field, and set sail while Guillen scored. Swisher got the ball to Ramirez, who hesitated just long enough.
Third-base coach Luis Silverio was waving Teahen home. Kicking into hyper-gear, he headed home and dove across the plate, ahead of Ramirez's belated throw.
"When I hit it, I was going hard, making sure I got a triple, but Luis was just really aggressive with me," Teahen said. "And I trust him; He hasn't run me into too many outs. And it worked out."
Hillman bowed to Silvero as well.
"The only thing I told him was 'Great read, great job,'" Hillman said. "I would say most of it had to do with the distance. We know that Ramirez had a pretty good arm, but he was out there a pretty good ways."
Teahen's shot was his 10th homer this season, and his second inside-the-parker. He's the first Royal to have two inside jobs in a season since Brian McRae in 1992.
"They're starting to get kind of boring," Teahen deadpanned.
Yeah, just like this game was boring.