Chicago wins seventh straight series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox are trying to run away from their AL Central rivals. They're leaving a bunch of other teams behind, too.

Aaron Rowand singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning Saturday night and the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 for the best 18-game start in their 104-year history.

The major league-leading White Sox (14-4) have won a season-high six straight and eight of nine. They are 8-2 on the road, best in the AL and their best start since the 1973 team went 9-2. The White Sox have also won their first seven series of the season for the first time in franchise history.

"Anytime you can get off to a start like this, it puts pressure on some other teams," Rowand said. "They start pressing a little bit, which always helps. You can't make a big deal out of it. It is what it is. If you think about it, it will come back to bite you. A lot of people start off good and don't end up well.

"It's April. There's a long way to go. We're focused on one day at a time and one pitch at a time. That's really the only way you can take it. If you try to look at history or behind as opposed to ahead of you, sometimes that can come up and bite you," he said.

Rowand's two-out single scored A.J. Pierzynski, who reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to third when Juan Uribe singled for his third hit. Mike MacDougal (1-1) took the loss, while Damaso Marte (2-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth and retired the side in order in the 10th.

"This is something we never felt would happen to have a start like this," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "This makes it easier for us for the future if something really weird happens."

Uribe's double in the second scored Pierzynski to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead after Royals left fielder Matt Diaz missed the cutoff man.

"I turned and threw and I guess I had too much adrenaline flowing," Diaz said. "You're allowed to have one mental mistake, but not two."

The Royals, who have dropped a season-high four straight, tied it in the eighth when Mike Sweeney's two-out single scored Terrence Long, who had doubled. Sweeney ranks among the American League leaders with 15 RBI.

The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth but failed to score off Marte, the fifth White Sox pitcher. Diaz attempted to score from third when a pitch got away from catcher Pierzynski but was tagged out by Marte. Pinch-hitter Eli Marrero struck out to end the inning.

"That was mental mistake No. 2," Diaz said. "I thought I could score. I smelled home plate. When you've got a team like the White Sox on the ropes, you can't give them an out."

White Sox starter Jose Contreras left after 3 1/3 innings with a strained lower right hamstring, which he hurt while starting to run to cover first base on Sweeney's grounder to Paul Konerko.
Contreras struck out six of eight batters in one stretch, including the side in the third.

Contreras' only mistake was a leadoff home run to David DeJesus.
It was the fourth time in DeJesus' career that he led off a game with a homer and the first since Sept. 22, 2004, at Tampa Bay.

The Royals helped the White Sox score a run in the top of the first. Scott Podsednik, who reached six times in Friday's victory, led off with an infield single. Tadahito Iguchi was awarded first base on catcher's interference by John Buck. Royals right-hander Zack Greinke balked the runners to second and third and Podsednik scored on Carl Everett's groundout.

The unearned run off Greinke was the first in his career, covering 158 2/3 innings. The previous 69 runs he had allowed were earned.

Greinke gave up two runs, one earned, and five hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out seven, matching his career high. He also threw a career-high 110 pitches.

Cliff Politte, who replaced Contreras, pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings and lowered his ERA to 1.08 in seven relief appearances.

The White Sox have led in all 18 games, the longest streak in club history to begin a season.

Game notes
White Sox third baseman Joe Crede singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games, the longest active streak in the majors. He also tied Brian Roberts of Baltimore for the longest streak this season. ... The Royals called up right-hander Ambiorix Burgos from Double-A Wichita, where he was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a save, and optioned right-hander Nate Field to Triple-A Omaha. ... DeJesus left in the eighth with a bruised left foot. Long replaced him in center.