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KC@CWS: Butler smacks a two-run single to center

CHICAGO -- Even the White Sox have to win at home once in a while.

That's what happened on a rainy Saturday night, as the White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak at U.S. Cellular Field with a 5-4 victory over the Royals after 24,854 fans snapped open umbrellas or scrambled for shelter from a late-inning downpour.

The White Sox have been curiously inept at The Cell this season with a 25-33 record, worst home mark in the American League. They're also the only AL club with a winning record on the road (34-27) but a losing mark at home.

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who hit his first Major League home run in the win, shrugged off the whole horrible-at-home concept.

"I don't think we believe in that whole thing. I think it's just been bad luck at home, that's just how it's been going," Flowers said. "It's good to get it out of the way so you guys [reporters] quit asking us. But this was definitely a big win for us."

The game was decided in the seventh inning when the White Sox scored twice, both runs charged to losing pitcher Luke Hochevar, but largely achieved through reliever Aaron Crow's wild streak.

The Royals were ahead, 4-3, when Juan Pierre's third single and a walk to Omar Vizquel prompted the removal of Hochevar. Crow struck out Paul Konerko, but gave up a run-scoring double to Carlos Quentin and issued two walks to force in the deciding run.

Crow walked Alexei Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, then passed Alejandro De Aza on four pitches.

"I was just trying to do too much," Crow said. "Guys were on base and I was trying to be too perfect instead of just making sure I threw strikes. I was just trying to make perfect pitches from the get-go and that's what happens when you try to be too fine."

This was the second downfall for Crow at The Cell. On July 4, his balk in the ninth inning gave the White Sox a "balk-off" victory, also by a 5-4 score.

Bad karma on Chicago's South Side for the Royals rookie?

"I don't think it's so much the park, it's just both times I've pitched here I haven't been sharp," he said. "I just need to do a better job."

The game, starting 1 hour and 25 minutes late because of a late-afternoon shower, began with two No. 44s, Hochevar and the White Sox's Jake Peavy, firing from the mound. If you're into numerical oddities, be advised that Peavy had a 4-4 record and 4.44 ERA against the Royals in his career while allowing them 44 hits.

In the third inning, Peavy was given a 2-0 lead by Konerko. After Flowers' single and a force-out, Konerko hammered a 1-2 Hochevar pitch into the left-field seats for his 27th home run.

For the first four innings, Peavy was impenetrable.

"He just came right at us with fastballs early and then the next couple of times through, mostly offspeed stuff," the Royals' Billy Butler said. "He had his stuff working and, obviously, we had a chance to win there. We had the lead and we got him out of the game, so we honestly felt like we did what we had to do off of him."

But in the fifth, Peavy had another '4' on his Royals numerical list. They scored four runs to take a 4-2 lead.

Jeff Francoeur singled, stole second, took third on Flowers' throwing error and scored on Johnny Giavotella's single. Salvador Perez doubled to left and, after an out, Alcides Escobar stroked an RBI single to right. With two out, hot-hitting Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases and Butler grounded a two-run single up the middle.

Butler acknowledged that the intentional walk revved him up a bit.

"I think that's the first time anybody's intentionally walked somebody to face me," Butler said. "I don't recall it happening too often. Especially in the three-hole, you don't want anybody walking to get to you, so I did I what I had to do."

Flowers made it 4-3 in the bottom half when he led off with a home run to center field off Hochevar.

"I thought he threw pretty good," Royals manager Ned Yost said of his starter. "He got a ball up to Konerko. He threw a cement-mixer to Flowers -- tried to throw him a slider and it just kind of spun up-and-in -- and he drove it out of the park."

Peavy pitched into the seventh inning, leaving after two-out singles by Alex Gordon and Cabrera. Reliever Jesse Crain got Butler to foul out.

Then the White Sox did their mischief against Crow, who has struggled at times since his All-Star Game selection. Yost said that while Crow had some arm stiffness after the break, he's healthy now.

"I think he's trying to overthrow a little bit and jerking some of his pitches and trying to snap his breaking ball, and he's just battling his command," Yost said.

Eric Hosmer and Francoeur each singled off Crain to start the eighth when the rain resumed and the Royals' hopes quickly clouded over. Giavotella flied out and Perez rapped into a double play.

As the bottom half began, a heavy downpour commenced and sent the fans scrambling for cover. Umpires halted play at 10:14 p.m. CT. The game resumed 42 minutes later.

Royals reliever Blake Wood also had his command issues in the eighth and walked the bases full, but managed to escape the jam. The Royals went down in order in the ninth against left-hander Chris Sales.

Finally the White Sox felt safe at home. Comments