Danny Duffy took a shutout into the ninth inning in the longest outing of his career, and the surging Kansas City Royals beat Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Sunday.
Lorenzo Cain and Paulo Orlando homered as Kansas City (55-35) moved a season-high 20 games above .500. The AL Central leaders took three of four in the weekend series and have won 11 of 14 overall.
Duffy (4-4) gave up rookie Tyler Saladino's lea doff drive in the ninth for his first career homer. Joe Blanton then came in and got the last three outs for his first career save in his 278th major league game.
Blanton, a starter for most of his career, got the save opportunity after Kansas City split a doubleheader on Friday, and then used seven relievers in Saturday's 13-inning victory.
Chicago (42-48) managed just six hits in its fourth loss in five games, making it more likely that general manager Rick Hahn will look to sell ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The White Sox are last in the Central, with major league-leading St. Louis coming to town for a two-game set beginning on Tuesday night.
Sale (8-5) was tagged for a season-high 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings. The All-Star lefty gave up four runs, struck out six and walked one.
Sale allowed five hits in the first three innings, but Eric Hosmer's RBI single in the first accounted for Kansas City's only run before Cain hit a leadoff drive in the sixth for his 10th homer. Rios reached on a one-out single in the seventh before Orlando connected for his fourth homer.
Cain also had a tiebreaking homer in Kansas City's 7-6 victory on Saturday. The All-Star center fielder went 1 for 4 and is batting .473 (26 for 55) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 14 games.
Chicago threatened in the sixth, putting runners on second and third with one out. But Duffy struck out Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera to end the inning.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen will come off the disabled list on Monday, taking another step in his comeback from his second major elbow surgery. Medlen, who last pitched in the majors in 2013 with Atlanta, will join Kansas City's bullpen for the start of a three-game series against Pittsburgh. "He's going to be a long guy, but these things always seem to work themselves out, so I envision him long term being a starter," manager Ned Yost said.
White Sox: Reliever Matt Albers was activated from the 15-day disabled list and pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He broke his right pinkie finger during a brawl with the Royals on April 23. INF Conor Gillaspie was designated for assignment to make room on the roster.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura (4-6, 4.73 ERA) makes his second start since coming off the disabled list when the Royals host Pittsburgh on Monday night. RHP A.J. Burnett (7-3, 2.11 ERA) goes for the Pirates.
White Sox: Following an off day, the White Sox host St. Louis on Tuesday night. LHP Carlos Rodon (3-2, 3.80 ERA) takes on Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (10-3, 2.52 ERA).
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