KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Though veterans Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia came through in the ninth inning, there is no doubt the Chicago White Sox are looking more to the future.
Abreu and Garcia drove in runs in the ninth as the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 Wednesday.
The White Sox took two of three at Kauffman Stadium, winning their first road series since June 16-18. While they have the worst American League record (58-87), they have won four of their past five games, hitting .360 with 26 extra-base hits and 40 runs in that span. They won a series in Kansas City for the first time since 2015.
Abreu's sacrifice fly scored Tim Anderson, who led off the inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch by Scott Alexander (4-4) and stole third.
Garcia's single to center scored Yoan Moncada with the second run. Garcia is hitting an American League-leading .432 against left-handed pitchers.
"We never give up," Garcia said. "We always keep fighting. We never know what's going to happen. What we can control is giving our best."
Alexander was working for the fifth time in seven games, including throwing 17 pitches in a Tuesday save and 27 on Sunday. Manager Ned Yost said before the game Alexander was unavailable.
"They called down. I said I felt fine," Alexander said. "We're all tired. It's the same thing for everybody. We're all trying to be available."
The Royals, who entered three games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card, tied the score at 3 in the eighth. Alcides Escobar singled in one run, while pinch runner Terrance Gore scored the other on an Alex Gordon groundout.
"Fortunately the damage was minimized and we were able to come out on top," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
Juan Minaya (3-2) pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
Adam Engel hit a two-run double in the second for Chicago, scoring Tyler Saladino and Kevan Smith. Engel has nine of his 20 RBIs this season against the Royals.
After Royals starter Eric Skoglund retired the first two batters in the third, he gave up a double to Garcia, walked Matt Davidson and gave up an RBI single to Saladino.
The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but came away empty. Melky Cabrera flied out to center and Eric Hosmer grounded out to end the threat.
Skoglund lasted only three innings and 66 pitches, giving up three runs on five hits. He threw 6⅓ innings of two-hit ball to beat Detroit 1-0 in his big league debut on May 30. Since then, Skoglund has given up 17 runs on 26 hits and 10 walks over 10⅔ innings. He has a 14.34 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance.
White Sox starter Lucas Giolito yielded one run, a homer by Salvador Perez in the sixth inning, in 6⅓ innings. Giolito has a 1.75 ERA and has held opposing batters to a .140 batting average in his past four starts.
The Royals will try to snap the Indians' AL record 21-game winning streak on Thursday in Cleveland.
"We're not worried about that," second baseman Whit Merrifield said. "We're just worried about playing better as a team. We're going to show up, and try to pitch, play defense, swing the bats and run the bases better than we have recently. If we do all those things, we like where we are."
Up next: White Sox RHP James Shields, who starts the series opener at Detroit, snapped a 11-game winless skid in his previous start, beating the Giants on Saturday and allowing one run and two hits over a season-high seven innings. LHP Chad Bell will start for the Tigers.