- Associated Press - Sunday, May 22, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The Kansas City Royals fell just short of a sweep, despite an improved effort from Yordano Ventura.

Ventura provided some much-needed relief for the overworked bullpen with six mostly solid innings in the Royals’ 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Ventura (4-3) gave up three runs and six hits, only the second quality start in his last five appearances. The right-hander walked four and struck out three.

“I’m improving outing to outing,” said Ventura, whose record fell to 1-3 on the road. “I’ll continue to work and do the best I can to help this team.”

Ventura made one big mistake, an 0-2 pitch that Melky Cabrera stroked for a two-out, two-run single to snap a 1-all tie in the fifth. It was the only hit for the White Sox in 23 chances with a runner in scoring position in the series.

“I wanted to throw a two-seamer down and away and it didn’t do what it was supposed to do,” Ventura said through an interpreter. “It just missed the spot.”

Kansas City starters began the day with the fewest innings (221 2/3) in the American League, which prompted manager Ned Yost to say, “It would be nice to get a few more out of them.”

“(Ventura) threw the ball fine,” Yost said. “He did a good job of keeping us in that game.”

Chicago’s Todd Frazier tied for the AL lead with his 13th home run, an opposite-field blast that tied the score in the fourth.

Carlos Rodon (2-4) allowed two runs and pitched into the seventh inning for his first victory since April 13. The left-hander allowed eight hits and struck out four in his first career start against Kansas City.

“You feel confident when he’s out there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But again, it’s getting some runs. The pitching part of it hasn’t really been the issue.”

David Robertson got three outs for his 11th save in 13 chances, helping the AL Central leaders win for just the third time in 11 games.

Lorenzo Cain and Paulo Orlando had two hits apiece for the defending World Series champions, who had won six of their previous eight.

“You alway want to win the series. That’s your No. 1 goal,” Yost said. “You put yourself in a position to sweep them, but Rodon did a nice job of pitching today. We didn’t have a lot of missed opportunities that I’m lamenting right now.”

Kansas City had four singles, including Orlando’s two-out RBI hit, to take the lead in the second. Orlando drove in three of the Royals’ eight runs in the series. He also doubled and is hitting .364 (20 for 55) against Chicago.

Omar Infante had a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Orlando robbed Austin Jackson of an extra-base hit with a runner on third in the sixth by making a catch against the right-field wall.

CLOSE CALL

Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon and third baseman Mike Moustakas escaped serious injury on Sunday, when they collided in pursuit of a foul ball in the seventh. Gordon bruised his right wrist but the injury was not believed to be serious.

Gordon was attempting to make the catch down the left field line before Moustakas tripped over him. Both players fell to the ground, and Gordon landed against the tarpaulin. Royals trainer Nick Kenney tended to both players, who remained in the game. Whit Merrifield batted for Gordon in the top of the eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Gordon’s status was said to be day-to-day.

White Sox: Ventura checked on Robertson with two outs in the ninth. The pitcher said he experienced dizziness but was doing fine after the game. . C Kevan Smith (sacroiliac joint dysfunction) was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Charlotte before the contest.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-3, 3.24 ERA) is to start Monday’s series opener against Minnesota and RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.74).

White Sox: RHP Mat Latos (5-1, 4.00) is to start a doubleheader opener Monday against Cleveland and RHP Mike Clevinger (0-0, 6.75). RHP Erik Johnson (0-1, 7.20) is to start the second game for Chicago against RHP Cody Anderson (0-3, 7.99).

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