KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The White Sox haven’t figured out how to hit Jeremy Guthrie.
They’re not alone.
Guthrie ran his unbeaten streak to a club-record 17 consecutive starts with a four-hitter in the Royals’ 2-0 victory over the Sox on Saturday.
Guthrie is 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in six starts with the Royals against the Sox, allowing two earned runs and 30 hits in 442/3 innings.
“He’s been doing it almost a year now,” Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said. “He makes very few mistakes, and when he did make a mistake we obviously didn’t do anything with them. We were trying to get to him early. Obviously we didn’t do it. He’s in a groove right now. When you’ve got a guy with that many pitches and he locates his fastball, you can’t go guessing on a guy like that. He’s good.”
Guthrie is 9-0 in his unbeaten streak, which started against the Sox on Aug. 8, 2012. Left-hander Paul Splittorff held the Royals’ record with 16 straight undefeated starts in 1977-78.
“He’s been tough on us,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “First, because he’s good. He was throwing it in and throwing it out. His off-speed was keeping us off balance. He seems to pick it up when we’re facing him.
“They’ve got good defense, too. There were a couple of little rollers and difficult kinds of plays, and they made them. He was (Greg) Maddux-like, going for the two-hour mark. You have to pick your poison, you go after him early and then you pop it up. He’s tough.”
It was Guthrie’s first shutout and fifth complete-game. Three of his previous complete games were eight-inning losses. His only previous complete-game victory came Aug. 8, 2008, for Baltimore at Seattle.
Paul Konerko singled in the second and doubled in the fourth for the only Sox hits until the eighth inning.
Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza singled in the eighth, but Jeff Keppinger’s grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar ended the inning.
Guthrie (4-0) threw 11 or fewer pitches in every inning except the fourth and eighth, when he threw 21 apiece.
Dylan Axelrod (0-1) nearly matched Guthrie, but yielded a two-run triple to Lorenzo Cain in the first inning. Cain’s triple to the right-field corner scored Billy Butler, who was hit by a pitch, and Eric Hosmer, who singled for the first of his three hits.
“It’s one of those games where Axe was good, but Guthrie was better,” Ventura said. “That one ball to Rios (Cain’s run-run triple), a few feet closer and we’re still out there.”
Axelrod was pulled after Salvador’s Perez’s single with two out in the eighth. He gave up eight hits, walked one, hit two batters and struck out none, throwing 70 strikes in 113 pitches.
Hosmer tripled to start the Royals’ third inning, but was stranded.
Chris Getz and Escobar singled in the second, but Billy Butler flied out to right to end the Royals’ threat.
Axelrod recorded his first 12 outs with fly balls before Butler grounded out to begin the fifth inning.
But this was Guthrie’s night.
“He had it all working,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was just magnificent. He had great action on his pitches. He had everything going. He had great movement, great action, great location, great stuff. He was getting quick outs. He was real economical. The defense played great behind him. He just did a phenomenal job.”
NOTES: RHP Jake Peavy, who missed a Thursday start with back spasms, was penciled in for a Monday start, but that appears unlikely after a throwing session Saturday. “My throwing didn’t go like I hoped,” Peavy said after the game. “I don’t think it’s 100 percent been determined, but unless it’s a real, real good day tomorrow, it’s highly doubtful. I’ll go back to the hotel and maybe we’ll get a chiropractor or I’ll see a massage therapist. I certainly don’t want to spend any time on the DL.” . The Royals had 10 non-playing days in their first 33 dates, logging four rains outs, a postponement at Boston from the police situation and five scheduled days off. “You just deal with the off days,” Yost said. “Do you want ‘em? No, not really, not like we’ve had them. It is what it is, you can’t change it, you just deal with it.” . White Sox LF Dayan Viciedo, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, took some swings Saturday and should be ready to start a minor league rehab soon.