Paulino pitches Royals past White Sox for 1st win

Kansas City Royals' Jeff Francoeur right, celebrates with teammate Billy Butler after scoring on a two-run single by Matt Treanor against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Tuesday, July 5, 2011.

Kansas City Royals' Jeff Francoeur right, celebrates with teammate Billy Butler after scoring on a two-run single by Matt Treanor against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Photo by The Associated Press.

CHICAGO (AP) — After ending a long winless drought, Felipe Paulino reflected on his journey.

Paulino struck out nine in six innings for his first victory in more than a year and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Tuesday night.

“I’ve worked so hard for this opportunity that Kansas City gave me,” Paulino said.

Alcides Escobar hit a two-run triple and Matt Treanor had a tiebreaking single for the Royals, who beat Jake Peavy to win for the fifth time in 19 games.

Paulino (1-2) was acquired from Colorado for cash on May 26 after starting the season 0-5. He allowed three runs and scattered nine hits while walking two on 120 pitches.

It was Paulino’s first win since June 4, 2010, against the Chicago Cubs. He finished last season 1-9.

“It’s been a while, I think,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Paulino pitched in and out of trouble all night as the White Sox left 13 on base.

“He’s a big beast out there,” Treanor said about the 6-foot-2, 270-pound pitcher.

For the second time in a week, the White Sox failed to break the .500 barrier. They have not been above .500 since April 15, when they were 7-6.

“I would like to think it is going to happen. We just don’t click on all cylinders, and I think it is going to happen. Like I said, we’ve been pitching very well,” Peavy said.

Paul Konerko hit a solo home run and had three hits for the White Sox, who are 7-12 against AL Central opponents. On Monday night, they started a string of a 19 straight games against teams in their own division.

Royals reliever Louis Coleman pitched two scoreless innings and Joakim Soria worked a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 19 chances. With runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Alexei Ramirez hit into a hard fielder’s choice to end the game.

“I think we struggle with people on base. We need to get big hits. In the American League you need to get big hits in the clutch. If not, you’re not going to win many games because the pitching staffs are so good,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Peavy (4-2) allowed five runs and six hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked two. The right-hander was roughed up for three runs in the second.

With the score tied at 3, Billy Butler led off the sixth inning with a single and, one out later, Jeff Francoeur reached on a bloop single. Butler and Francoeur advanced when Mike Moustakas struck out on Peavy’s wild pitch. Treanor then hit a two-run single to left, giving the Royals a 5-3 lead.

“My prayers were answered,” said Treanor, who came into the game hitting .214. “I got around on it. It was a decent pitch, but I found a hole.”

Peavy allowed back-to-back walks to start the second inning. After Francoeur’s fielder’s choice, Moustakas gave the Royals an early lead with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Escobar tripled to center to make it 3-0.

“Second inning, no excuses,” Peavy said. “I didn’t get some close pitches. Obviously I didn’t have the command I normally have. It cost us there, the kid hit a pretty good pitch for the triple. Obviously, it was a big hit, but no way I can walk Butler and (Eric) Hosmer back-to-back. Like I said, I made some close pitches, just didn’t get called. It’s frustrating, no doubt about it.”

Konerko got a run back for the White Sox in the second with a solo shot to left. It was his 22nd homer of the season.

With one out in the third, Juan Pierre singled and Brent Morel reached safely on a bunt. After Adam Dunn struck out, Konerko hit an RBI single. Carlos Quentin drove in Morel with a single that tied it 3-all.

NOTES: White Sox CF Alex Rios, in a 3-for-29 slump, had the night off. ... After hitting a home run in Monday’s win, Dunn was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts, dropping his average to .167.

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