Sox use long ball to keep lead at 3 games

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
11:18
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Alex RiosJohn Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT/Getty ImagesAlex Rios has become perhaps the White Sox most valuable offensive player.
KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox won in their usual style Tuesday, using the long ball and solid pitching to edge the Kansas City Royals 3-2.

Starter Gavin Floyd went seven innings, giving up just two first-inning runs and allowing five hits in his first win since Aug. 15.

More importantly, the Sox held onto their 3-game division lead over the Tigers, who defeated Oakland on Tuesday night.

“Right now it should be fun for them," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They come to play and give the effort and I haven’t had to ask for it."

Floyd gave the Sox their fourth quality start during their five-game winning streak, their longest since a six-game streak from August 20-26. The veteran pitcher can be a solid force going down the stretch fresh off the DL.

"That first inning they got him for a couple," Ventura said. "Other than that he was sharp, he was getting ahead. I wanted to leave him in there a little longer, but we had guys to come in and pick him up."

The Sox offensive hero once again was Alex Rios. who had what proved to be the game-winning home run in the seventh inning.

"Those things do not happen every night," Rios said."Yes the long ball has been working for us but you don’t want to count on it every day . The last couple of games we got big hits instead of hitting bombs. We just need to play complete games."

Closer Addison Reed took care of the final two outs of the game for his 28th save. The Sox are using the young pitcher for less than an entire inning after a meltdown he had on Saturday. Ventura used Matt Thornton for 1.1 innings before bringing in Reed to get the last two outs.

"The last two days it has been pretty cool what the coaches have done," Reed said. "They have matched up our strengths against the other team's weaknesses. Hey as long as the team gets out of here with a win everything is fine."

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.20 198 168
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .319
HRJ. Abreu 35
RBIJ. Abreu 103
RA. Ramirez 78
OPSJ. Abreu .975
ERAC. Sale 2.20
SOC. Sale 198