How it happened: The Royals got off to a quick start with three first-inning runs and made it stand up behind starter Jeremy Guthrie. White Sox starter Hector Noesi settled down, giving up just those three runs in six innings of work and allowing just three more hits the rest of the way. The White Sox were held to six hits. Guthrie gave up just four hits over his seven scoreless innings. Greg Holland closed it out with an 11-pitch ninth.
What it means: The victory sent the Royals to the playoffs for the first time in 29 seasons, ending the longest playoff drought in baseball. The Royals clinched a wild-card spot and moved to within a game of the Detroit Tigers' lead in the American League Central with two games to play. The Royals are also on top of the wild-card standings, a game up on the Oakland Athletics.
Outside the box: Paul Konerko, who is retiring after Sunday’s season finale, went 0-for-4 Friday while starting at first base. The veteran received standing ovations before each at-bat. He struck out in the second inning, hit a comebacker in the fourth, flied out to the edge of the warning track in the seventh and lined out to left in the ninth.
Off beat: White Sox reliever Maikel Cleto hasn’t had a season to remember, but he has been closing with a flourish. The right-hander struck out all three Royals batters he faced in the seventh inning, on 11 pitches. He has not only struck out the side in his past two outings, he now has 12 strikeouts over his past 6⅓ innings.
Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (10-11, 4.82 ERA) to the mound Saturday in the third game of the four-game series. The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy (9-11, 2.32) in the 6:40 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox will have an on-field ceremony to celebrate Konerko’s career at 6 p.m.