Buehrle on a roll for White Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Mark Buehrle went two months without a win. Now, the Chicago White Sox left-hander can't lose.

Buehrle won his seventh straight decision as the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 9-6 Tuesday night and closed within three games of the AL Central lead.

Paul Konerko, Joe Crede, Tony Graffanino and Magglio Ordonez each homered and had three hits for the White Sox, who tied a season high with 16 hits in the opener of the three-game series.

Kansas City has led the AL Central since July 1. Chicago hasn't been this close to first place since July 2.

Buehrle (9-10) went 0-9 with a 6.86 ERA in 11 starts from April 20 to June 11, and he is 7-0 with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts since.

"Mark Buehrle gives us a chance," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "He's going to do everything he can to keep a team in check."

He allowed three runs and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings.

"I had my good changeup early, big-time the first couple of innings, and then I lost it," Buehrle said. "This is the second start in a row that I got away from my cutter, which was my best pitch last year.

"I used to throw 40 fastball and 40 cutters. Now it is 60 fastballs and 15 cutters. When I've got the good sinker working, I stayed with it."

His sinker helped him out in the fifth and sixth with double-play grounders, both started by second baseman Roberto Alomar.

"Robby has been a big part of our defense, not just for me, but everybody -- diving and stopping runs," Buehrle said.

Tom Gordon got three outs for his sixth save in 10 chances.

Darrell May (5-5) gave up a season-high seven runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had been 5-0 in six starts since losing to St. Louis on June 21.

"Every time I get a pitch up, it wasn't just hit for a base hit," May said. "Nobody likes to give up home runs."

Added Royals manager Tony Pena: "May was throwing the ball well, but he just made a couple of bad pitches. They scored five runs after two outs. It was one of those nights."

Kansas City led 2-0 before Konerko and Crede put the White Sox ahead when they homered on consecutive pitches with two outs in the fourth.

"I gave up two runs early, and we came right back with three, which was big," Buehrle said.

Ordonez, who has seven consecutive multihit games, hit a two-run homer in the fifth for a 5-2 lead.

Graffanino hit a solo homer, Ordonez had an RBI double and Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh that made it 8-2.

"Three of the four home runs were not good pitches," May said.

Desi Relaford hit an RBI single in the bottom half that chased Buehrle, but Graffanino doubled home Konerko for a 9-3 lead in the eighth.

"This is the team we thought we were going to be coming out of spring training," Graffanino said. "It's took awhile to come, but it's here."

Angel Berroa, who had three hits, hit a three-run homer in the bottom half, his third homer in six games.

Game notes
The White Sox acquired LHP Scott Schoeneweis from Anaheim in a five-player trade. Chicago sent RHP Gary Glover and minor league pitchers Scott Dunn and Tim Bittner to the Angels. The White Sox also acquired right-handed reliever Doug Nickle, who was assigned to their Triple-A team in Charlotte. ... The Royals designated INF Gookie Dawkins for assignment. He appeared in just three games after being promoted July 18 from Triple-A Omaha. ... The White Sox have 28 homers and 90 runs in their past 13 games. ... May tied a Kansas City record by allowing four homers, becoming the first Royals pitcher to do it since Kris Wilson on July 22 against Oakland.