By Jeffrey Flanagan and Robert Falkoff
KANSAS CITY -- Jose Abreu drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, scoring Tim Anderson, and Avisail Garcia added insurance with an RBI single as the White Sox held off the Royals, 5-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Anderson singled with one out in the ninth, went to second on a wild pitch from left-hander Scott Alexander and scored when Abreu lined out to center.
"All of us know a steal of third has to be 100 percent," Renteria said. "Otherwise, it's fruitless. He had a good feel for what was going on, and he wanted to get there."
By taking two of three, Chicago won a road series for the first time since June 16-18 at Toronto. It also dealt a blow to Kansas City's postseason chances. The Royals fell four games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot and were also officially eliminated from the AL Central division race.
The Royals, trailing 3-1, scored two in the eighth to tie it on Alcides Escobar's RBI single and Alex Gordon's RBI groundout. But Escobar ended the inning being thrown out (after review) trying to steal third base.
"You've got to make sure you can steal the base," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There's gotta be no question. It's gotta be like 99 percent, you know. That didn't work out, pushing the envelope."
White Sox starter Lucas Giolito gave up four hits while walking three and striking out three. The only run he gave up was on Salvador Perez's 25th big fly of the season. It was also his 22nd as a catcher this season, setting a club record.
"When his fastball was located, it was pretty good," Renteria said of Giolito. "It's about command at this point, but he worked through it."
Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund was hoping to give the Royals some length, but he lasted just three innings, giving up five hits and three runs (two earned). He walked two and struck out two. Kevin McCarthy was superb, relieving Skoglund with three scoreless innings while walking none and striking out four.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Royals beater: White Sox center fielder Adam Engel came into the game hitting .186, but he has feasted on Royals pitching this season. With Tyler Saladino on third, Kevan Smith on second and two outs in the second inning, Engel shot a two-run double into the left-field corner, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead. Engel now is 9-for-32 against the Royals, with nine of his 20 RBIs this season against them.
Big out in the first: The Royals appeared to have something cooking in the bottom of the first when Whit Merrifield led off with a walk and stole second. After Lorenzo Cain singled to center, pushing Merrifield to third, Cain took off for second on a steal attempt. Cain made it easily, but Merrifield then tried to steal home and was thrown out on a good throw from Anderson to Smith. Instead of a great scoring chance -- second and third, none out -- the Royals wound up not scoring at all.
"Any time you get a chance to take 90 feet, you want to take it," Merrifield said. "We're an aggressive team. It's a play we work on. I just didn't execute."
Yost said it didn't occur to him to put up a stop sign on Merrifield, because he didn't think Merrifield would try to steal home with no outs.
"You're not anticipating those types of situations there," Yost said. "Why would I put a stop sign on Whit in the first inning? Lorenzo had the base stolen. I think that caught us all by surprise a little bit."
"I don't know. I think everyone's kind of tired at this point. It's the same for everybody." -- Alexander, on being used for 10th time in 16 games
The White Sox challenged a safe call at third base when Escobar tried to steal in the eighth inning. After review, the call was overturned, ending the inning with the game tied at 3.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Right-hander James Shields (3-6, 5.40 ERA) will make his 19th start of the season Thursday in the opener of a four-game series in Detroit at 12:10 p.m. CT. Shields is 1-2 over his past six starts despite recording three quality starts in that span.
Royals: Right-hander Jakob Junis (7-2, 4.34 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT as the Royals open a four-game series with the Indians, who have won an AL-record 21 straight games, at Progressive Field. Junis gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings Saturday against the Twins in a no-decision.