Series: Game 1 of 4

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 9/23)

Game 1: Thursday, September 23
Kansas City6Final
Chi White Sox7
Game 2: Friday, September 24
Kansas City8Final
Chi White Sox6
Game 3: Saturday, September 25
Kansas City1Final
Chi White Sox5
Game 4: Sunday, September 26
Kansas City1Final
Chi White Sox5

Royals 6

(56-96, 24-55 away)

White Sox 7

(77-75, 44-34 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 23, 2004

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

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    KC 200102100 6 10 0
    CWS 000010033 7 10 1

    W: D. Marte (6-5)

    L: J. Affeldt (3-4)

    Crede a Royal pain for K.C.

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Despite struggling with the bat for most of the season, Joe Crede showed again why the White Sox have faith in him.

    Crede hit a game-winning three-run shot in the ninth -- his second homer in two innings -- to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

    Joe Crede

    "I think our expectations for Joe were very high in spring training," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "I think the biggest disappointment with him this year has been his batting average. He has shown good power for us this year and has come up with some very big hits and I think that going into next year our expectations should remain high for him in the future."

    Aaron Rowand and Ross Gload also homered for Chicago, which has won three straight games.

    Trailing 6-1 in the eighth inning, the White Sox started their comeback against Kansas City starter Mike Wood.

    Crede led off with a home run and Wilson Valdez singled off Wood. One out later Rowand followed with a two-run homer off Royals reliever Shawn Camp to make it 6-4.

    In the ninth, Royals closer Jeremy Affeldt (3-4) allowed a leadoff walk to Juan Uribe. Joe Borchard followed with a single. Jamie Burke botched a bunt attempt, and Stairs threw out Uribe going to third, but Crede followed with his third career game-ending homer to right-center.

    "First and second like that, you want to try to drive the ball the other way into the gap," said Crede.

    Affeldt took blame for the loss after the game.

    "Tonight was one of those things where everything went bad. My location wasn't there. My pitch selection was poor. This one's on me," said Affeldt.

    Damaso Marte (6-5) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory.

    Kansas City took a 2-0 lead in the first, thanks in part to an error and an infield hit. Royals leadoff hitter David DeJesus reached on a throwing error by White Sox shortstop Wilson Valdez in the first inning. Desi Relaford followed with a single to right, and one out later, Stairs drove in DeJesus. Abraham Nunez capped the scoring with an infield single, driving in Relaford.

    Ruben Gotay hit a triple off White Sox starter Jose Contreras in the fourth and scored on Contreras' wild pitch to make it 3-0.

    The Royals padded their lead in fifth. Calvin Pickering led off with a single, Dee Brown walked and both runners moved up on Contreras' wild pitch. After Gotay struck out, Neal Cotts relieved Contreras and gave up a two-run single to DeJesus, giving the Royals a 5-1 lead.

    Cotts also gave up a solo home run to Matt Stairs in the seventh.

    "I don't care about the home run. The bottom line is we lost the game," said Stairs. "You think you have it in the bag. It's not a good feeling. There's not much you can say."

    Wood retired the first 11 White Sox batters before Carlos Lee broke the streak with an infield hit in the fourth inning. Wood allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out four and didn't allow a walk.

    Contreras struggled with his command and gave up five runs, four earned, and five hits. He struck out seven, walked two and threw three wild pitches.

    After starting 4-1 in his first six starts for the White Sox, Contreras has lost his last four decisions and hasn't won since Aug. 28 at Cleveland.

    "It's very hard to win in this league if you can't throw strikes. Right now he needs to find the strike zone a little more and he can be a very special pitcher," Guillen said.

    Game notes

    Royals SS Angel Berroa was out of the lineup. He left in the third inning of Wednesday's extra-inning win at Tampa Bay with a bruised left shoulder after getting hit by a pitch. ... Gload has five straight multihit games. ... The White Sox tied the teams' franchise record for 220 home runs in a season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press