Avila hits 2 HRs, White Sox give Royals eighth straight loss
CHICAGO (AP) Tim Anderson soaked it all in as he stood in the on-deck circle and thought he might be imagining it when he heard the ovation after his first major league hit.
The prized prospect made quite a debut for the White Sox. It wasn't a bad night for Alex Avila, either.
Avila crushed two of Chicago's season high four homers, Anderson picked up two hits and the struggling White Sox beat Kansas City 7-5 to give the Royals their eighth straight loss.
A shaky Chris Sale earned his 10th win to remain tied for the major league lead.
With back-to-back victories after dropping 20 of 26, the White Sox (31-30) moved back above .500 and ahead of Kansas City and Detroit for second place in the AL Central.
The defending champion Royals matched their longest slide since May 2013.
Anderson doubled to left in his first at-bat to spark a three-run third and added a single in the sixth after being called up from Triple-A Charlotte.
''It was an awesome feeling when I was on deck going up for the first at-bat,'' he said.
And the ovation after that double?
''I was thinking, `Is this really happening?''' Anderson said.
Sale (10-2) pitched into the seventh and got the victory despite giving up a season-high three home runs.
Eric Hosmer hit two solo drives and Salvador Perez added one for Kansas City, which finally broke through at the plate on a warm night with the wind blowing out after scoring one run or fewer the previous six games.
''Tonight was a real positive step,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''We just have to put the two together, pitching and the offense.''
The White Sox also benefited in a big way from the long ball, with Avila delivering with his first two since signing with Chicago in the offseason. He hit back-to-back solo homers with Brett Lawrie in the fourth and added a two-run shot in the sixth off Ian Kennedy (4-5) to make it 7-3.
Melky Cabrera also homered for Chicago. And Anderson made an impressive debut.
The promising shortstop was called up before the game to replace veteran Jimmy Rollins, who was designated for assignment. Those moves came a day after the White Sox let pitcher Mat Latos go and signed former AL MVP Justin Morneau - and less than a week after they acquired starter James Shields from San Diego.
''He's not coming up here timid, he's ready to play,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ''It's a nice way to start it off, spark a little rally for us. I think later on he probably won't remember a whole lot of it, but it was just nice. He looked comfortable out there.''
Sale got the win after going 0-2 in his previous three starts even though he gave up 11 hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
Sale exited with a 7-4 lead and runners on first and third after Alcides Escobar's RBI single with none out in the seventh. Hosmer added a sacrifice fly off Dan Jennings in the inning to make it a two-run game. But the White Sox hung on, with David Robertson working the ninth for his 15th save in 17 tries.
Kennedy lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs and nine hits. The right-hander gave up a career-high four homers and dropped to 0-3 in his past six outings.
Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum picked up his 14th career ejection and fourth as a coach after Perez struck out to end the seventh. Yost said Sveum was upset about two check swing calls against Perez.
White Sox: General manager Rick Hahn said CF Austin Jackson will likely miss at least six weeks because of a medial meniscus tear in his left knee and have surgery next week. Jackson hurt his knee stepping on a base awkwardly during Thursday's win over Washington. He remained in the game, but an MRI on Friday confirmed the injury. With Jackson on the 15-day DL, Chicago recalled outfielder Jason Coats from Triple-A. ... Hahn also said pitchers Jake Petricka (torn labrum in hip) and Daniel Webb (Tommy John elbow surgery) had season-ending operations on Friday.
LHP Jose Quintana (5-6, 2.58 ERA) looks to get back to winning for Chicago after dropping five consecutive starts, while the Royals are pushing Chris Young back in the rotation and going with LHP Danny Duffy (1-1, 3.35) instead.