Sparkman shuts down White Sox

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Associated Press White Sox center fielder Charlie Tilson, right, catches a fly ball hit by the Royals' Whit Merrifield during the first inning as left fielder Eloy Jimenez (74) backs up the play.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Glen Sparkman overcame some early struggles and settled down for his first career complete game and shutout.

Sparkman pitched a five-hitter, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier both had three hits including a home run, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White sox 11-0 Tuesday night.

"My fastball command was shaky early on," Sparkman said. "Couldn't really locate it as much, and the curveball as well."

He wasn't about to leave the game before trying to finish it. Manager Ned Yost approached him after the eighth.

"He asked 'How are you feeling?' I said 'I feel great,'" Sparkman said. "So, in the ninth he just said 'Keep going.' I was all adrenaline, and excited, so I kept going."

Sparkman (3-5) finished with a career-high eight strikeouts and one walk in the Royals' first complete-game shutout since June 2, 2017, when Jason Vargas beat Cleveland 4-0.

Kansas City improved to 4-1 since the All-Star break and dropped the White Sox to 0-5.

"We're playing hard," Chicago's Charlie Tilson said. "Obviously, you've got to do a little better. It's part of the game. I think the biggest thing is how you bounce back from it and continue to push and get back to where we need to be."

Merrifield, hitting .379 (22 for 58) in a 14-game hitting streak, raced to an inside-the-park homer down the right-field line in the fourth inning after Cam Gallagher doubled. Plate umpire Tom Hallion initially called Merrifield out on the play at home, but it was overturned after a quick replay review. That made the score 6-0 and gave Merrifield the 100th inside-the-park homer in Royals history.

"It was kind of a line drive down the line. I had a feeling it was going to stay fair and it did," Merrifield said. "I saw him dive and miss it and I know that corner. If it's in that corner, it can keep rolling and I knew I had a chance."

Dozier hit a two-run, 447-foot homer to left field in the eighth inning to cap a four-run inning and finish the scoring.

Chicago starter Dylan Cease (1-1) gave up six runs - four earned - and eight hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

The White Sox had a rocky first inning as the Royals scored twice. Merrifield led off with long fly that was caught by center fielder Tilson as he collided with left fielder Eloy Jimenez, who went down in pain next to the wall. Jimenez was taken out with a sore right elbow.

Adalberto Mondesi followed with a single, and took second on Cease's errant pickoff attempt. Mondesi then stole third and continued home when Yoan Moncada missed catcher James McCann's throw. Alex Gordon followed with a single and scored on Hunter Dozier's triple to right for a 2-0 lead.

A third White Sox error contributed to the Royals' two-run third inning. After Mondesi singled, shortstop Leury Garcia fielded Gordon's grounder, but threw wildly past second base, allowing Mondesi to score and Gordon to advance to third. Gordon was thrown out at the plate by second baseman Yolmer Sanchez but Bubba Starling's single drove in Jorge Soler to push the lead to 4-0

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