All the Kansas City Royals had to do on Sunday afternoon was stay alive long enough for the Chicago White Sox to implode.
Despite a game effort by the Sox not to do just that, the Royals swept their first road series since last season with a 4-2 win at U.S. Cellular Field -- getting a big two-run homer from Alex Gordon in the top of the 12th inning to break up a 2-2 tie. Chicago (40-62), which ended a 10-game homestand with a 3-7 record, will now hit the road for a week to play in Cleveland and Detroit.
The Royals (51-51) extended their winning streak to six games and got back to the .500 mark for the first time since June 17, when they beat the Indians in Cleveland.
Gordon's blast to center field, his 10th homer of the season, came with Jarrod Dyson on third. Dyson started the inning with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Josh Phegley. The left-handed hitting Gordon connected for his first hit of the day in six at-bats off left-handed throwing Donnie Veal (1-1) - who took the loss.
Aaron Crow (7-3) pitched a scoreless inning in the 11th to earn the win, while Greg Holland picked up his 27th save -- and 20th straight -- by getting Phegley to pop out in the 12th with two outs and two runners aboard.
Both teams had their chances to end it earlier.
Kansas City got the speedy Dyson aboard in the ninth with one out. He stole second, but was stranded when White Sox reliever Nate Jones finished his 2 1/3 scoreless innings by striking out the next two hitters.
The White Sox had a chance to win the game in the 10th inning by Dyson threw Blake Tekotte out at home. Tekotte was trying to score from second on a hit by Alejandro De Aza.
Chicago's Hector Santiago and Kansas City's Bruce Chen both made solid starts and settled for no-decisions.
Santiago lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He also walked four but struck out seven to help himself get out of tight spots in the first, fourth and sixth innings.
Chen was just as good after running up his pitch count in a tough first inning.
After getting out of the first with just giving up an RBI single by Paul Konerko, as the lone damage -- the Chicago's first run off a Kansas City starter in the series - Chen retired 13 of the next 15 before giving up Adam Dunn's long homer to center.
After both teams scored a run in the first, both starters settled down.
Santiago's wildness in the fourth inning led to the Royals taking a 2-1 lead. Kansas City scored a run on three walks and a double, but also left the bases loaded when Gordon struck out on a fastball out of the strike zone.
Dunn's homer with one out in the sixth tied the game at 2 and was the 431st of his career -- tying him for 43rd all-time with Cal Ripken Jr.
NOTES: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy remains on alert for a potential trade, which is why his bags are packed and have been for almost a week. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura will be almost as relieved as his players when the nonwaiver trade deadline expires at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. "There's been anxiety for a little while," he said. "Again, there's an elephant in the room and it's Wednesday at 4 o'clock (Central Time). That's going to be there just because of all the rumors that have gone around. Players talk and stuff. That's the reality of it." ... Royals CF Lorenzo Cain did not play because of tightness in his left groin that flared up while chasing down a drive on Saturday night in a 1-0 win. He expects to play Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins in a series-opening game at Target Field.