CHICAGO -- Mike Moustakas and Bruce Chen each did their heritages proud Tuesday night to help the Kansas City Royals snap a four-game losing skid.
Moustakas hit two home runs in the Royals' 7-1 defeat of the Chicago White Sox on Greek Heritage Night at U.S. Cellular Field, while Chen's 82nd win tied former New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera for most wins in the majors by a Panamanian-born pitcher.
"It feels really good I was able to help my team win and I was able to tie Mariano for the most wins for a Panamanian, so it was a great day for this team," said Chen, who went five innings and only allowed a solo home run to designated hitter Adam Dunn. "He's one of the best pitchers that's ever pitched in the big leagues and to tie him for most wins for a Panamanian, it really means a lot to me and my family is very happy."
Moustakas, who has Greek bloodlines, had a smile on his face too. In the game the White Sox celebrated Chicago's connection to Greece, he crushed each of his homers and nearly hit a third that just didn't have the distance.
He also scalded a line drive for a single and finished with three RBIs
"Oh, I knew," Moustakas said of the theme for the game. "I was telling everybody that today was my day, so it just ended up working out that way."
The Royals hadn't won since the All-Star break and their offense was almost non-existent. They put a halt to that by scoring four runs in the sixth inning and amassing 14 hits on a hot, muggy night.
"It's a big relief," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "We needed to do it. Coming off the All-Star break, I feel like we're a really good second-half team. In saying that, we go 0-4 in the first four games of the second half. So, it was big to get a win in the 'win' column and move forward."
The decisive series finale will take place Wednesday afternoon, with each team trying to be more consistent to spark a winning streak. A day after winning their third of four games coming out of the break, the White Sox fell to 1-5 against Kansas City at home this season and 2-11 in the last 13 games against them in this ballpark.
Manager Robin Ventura said lack of consistency is the biggest issue.
"You are not going to go on a big run unless you do that ... you can stay consistent and play clean baseball," Ventura said. "All the way around tonight, you are going to lose a game like that. We didn't pitch well. We didn't field well. We didn't hit well. So, your chances of extending a winning streak aren't going to happen. So you just have to be better than that."
Chen (2-2), filling the rotation spot of injured left-hander Jason Vargas, earned his second win against Chicago this season, Allowing just the homer by Dunn, five hits and two walks.
Three relievers did the rest on the mound and the offense finally snapped out of a malaise in which the Royals (49-50) had scored two combined runs in the previous three games.
Right-hander Scott Carroll (4-6), who hadn't allowed a run in his past two starts (11 2/3 innings), took the loss for Chicago (48-53). He went five-plus innings and gave up five runs on 11 hits, including all four on four hits and his own throwing error in the sixth.
"I think (I) was just rusty," said Carroll, who hadn't thrown since before the All-Star break. "That's kind of the way I felt. Early on I was able to get some strikeouts to get out of the first inning, but overall I just didn't feel I had my best stuff. I competed well but I just have to be better."
Moustakas finished the night 3-for-5, scoring twice and provided a welcome offensive surge as Kansas City played without first baseman Eric Hosmer (bruised hand) for a second straight game.
The Royals did strand a season-high 14 runners, but still broke the game open in the sixth inning, when first baseman Billy Butler and designated hitter Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back doubles to start a four-run inning to make it 5-1.
NOTES: White Sox manager Robin Ventura gave rookie 1B Jose Abreu an unscheduled day off after noticing signs of possible fatigue Monday in the series opener. Abreu is expected to get back in the starting lineup for the series finale Wednesday afternoon. ... Chicago RHP Matt Lindstrom (ankle surgery) is still on target to throw a bullpen this weekend in Minnesota and could receive an injury rehab assignment in a couple of weeks. ... CF Adam Eaton was named Chicago's Heart and Hustle Award recipient, as voted upon by members of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Eaton, who's playing with a broken finger on his right (non-throwing) hand, had an eight-game hitting streak before Tuesday. ... The Heart and Hustle Award recipient for Kansas City was CF Alex Gordon. ... Royals 1B Eric Hosmer missed his second straight game because of a contusion on his right hand. Manager Ned Yost said Hosmer isn't likely to play Wednesday either, but he might be ready to return Thursday to start a home series against the Cleveland Indians.