KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Their odds are nearly impossible and they haven’t got out of their own way but the 2015 White Sox refuse to die.
Erik Johnson pitched six strong innings in his return to the majors and the White Sox produced throughout as they completed a series sweep of the Kansas City Royals with a 7-5 victory at Kauffman Stadium. Adam Eaton homered and finished 3-for-5 while Jose Abreu drove in two runs for the White Sox, who have won four straight. The sweep was the first by the White Sox in Kansas City since August 2013 and allows them to still register a pulse in terms of the postseason picture, miniscule as it may be.
“It’s good to take three from a very, very good team,” Eaton said. “It shows kind of our inconsistency this year. We come in and beat the best team, come in and play them tough and win all three. We’ve got to be more consistent. This last month of the season we’ve got to empty whatever is left in the tank.”
The reality is the White Sox are running on fumes and have been for weeks now. Sunday’s win moved them within six games of the Texas Rangers, who are on pace for 85 victories and currently are in possession of the final playoff spot.
At 65-70, the White Sox need a 20-7 run to the finish -- something they’ve proven incapable of time and again -- to have an outside shot at the second wild-card spot.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
“We are the streakiest team I’ve ever been on in my life,” closer David Robertson said. “We go from winning five or six to losing five or six. I don’t know why.”
Offense has been a primary force behind the team’s most recent winning ways.
Since they trailed the Minnesota Twins 4-1 midway through Thursday’s victory, the White Sox have outscored their opponents 30-7.
They didn’t wait as long on Sunday against Royals starter Johnny Cueto and kept adding throughout, including a critical run in the ninth.
Eaton singled, Alexei Ramirez doubled and Abreu singled to make it 1-0 in the first inning. After Melky Cabrera walked to load the bases, Avisail Garcia singled in two more to give the White Sox a three-run advantage.
Adam LaRoche singled in a run in the third inning to make it a 4-1 game and Rob Brantly’s sac fly made it 5-1.
Eaton blasted a solo homer in the sixth inning, his 12th, to go up by five runs.
“Any time we jump out there, we seem to swing the bats a little better if we get it in the first inning,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Today, I thought Eaton did a great job of starting it off with a base hit, and guys kept going. I don’t know if Cueto had his best stuff today, but you have to take advantage of it when you can.”
Johnson made the most of his run support to earn his first win in the majors since April 20, 2014.
He allowed three solo homers in six innings, including two in his final frame, but only allowed five men to reach base. The Royals came back to life against Jake Petricka in the seventh inning and scored twice more until Matt Albers got out of the jam with a 6-5 lead.
“You can kind of feel the momentum change there,” Eaton said.
But the White Sox stole it back.
Zach Duke struck out the middle of Kansas City’s order in a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Eaton doubled to start the ninth and scored on Abreu’s sac fly to extend the lead to two runs.
Now they have to hope the momentum gained this weekend can turn them into the consistent team they’ve failed to be for the first 135 games.
“Hopefully we can continue to win,” Robertson said. “You never know. There’s still a chance for us to sneak in there. As long as we have the opportunity, we have to keep fighting and keep trying.”